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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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War Veterans' Allowances

Purpose. The object of war veterans' allowances is to make provision for members of the forces who, apart from wounds or other injuries received during war service, are ageing prematurely or otherwise becoming unfit for permanent employment by reason of mental or physical incapacity.

Service – New Zealand Forces. To be accepted as a veteran, a male claimant must have served as a member of the New Zealand forces with a unit in actual engagement with the enemy or, by reason of the period of his overseas service and the arduous or dangerous nature of his service, be considered by the War Pensions Board a proper person for the grant of an allowance.

The above requirements are waived for a person who served in the South African War as a member of a New Zealand contingent, and has attained the age of 75 years.

A female member of the New Zealand forces must have served overseas in connection with a war or emergency.

Other Commonwealth Forces. Any person, male or female, who served with the forces of any Commonwealth country other than New Zealand, with a unit in actual engagement with the enemy, or who served overseas for a period, fulfilling duties of an arduous or dangerous nature, may be regarded as a proper person for the grant of an allowance.

Residential Qualifications:

  1. Five years' continuous residence, immediately prior to the date of a claim is required, by a veteran who has served as a member of the New Zealand forces or who, being a bona fide resident of New Zealand at the outbreak of any war or emergency in which New Zealand forces were engaged, has served as a member of any of the forces of the Commonwealth other than New Zealand. Continuous residence is not deemed to have been interrupted by absence or absences not exceeding six months in the aggregate which is increased by one month for every year of residence in excess of five years.

  2. Twenty years' continuous residence immediately prior to date of application is required in any other case. The aggregate of allowable absence within the 20 years is two years, increased by six months for every year of residence in excess of 20 years.

Annual Weekly
Rates: £ s. d. £ s. d.
Married veteran with dependent wife 499 4 0 9 12 0
Married female veteran 249 12 0 4 16 0
Other veteran 275 12 0 5 6 0

Income. In general, the annual rates above are reducible by £1 for every complete ££1 of the income of the veteran or, in the case of a married person, of the combined income of husband and wife in excess of £208 a year. Where allowance is payable in respect of only one of a married couple, the rates are reducible by £1 for every complete 1 in excess of 457 12s. a year. Disablement and war widows' pensions are not taken into account as income, nor is up to £78 a year of the personal earnings from domestic or nursing employment of a female war veteran or the wife of a veteran. In addition, up to 20s. a week received as sick benefit from a friendly society, or a like benefit from any other source, is disregarded.

Age Supplement. An allowance may be increased by an age supplement at a rate not exceeding £39 a year each for a veteran and his wife on attaining the age of 65 years, provided that the amount of the supplement, together with income from other sources and any war disablement pension, does not exceed £208 a year.

Children. No additional allowance is payable in respect of dependent children as these are provided for by way of family benefit under the Social Security Act.

Death of a Veteran. A war veteran's allowance ceases on the death of the veteran but, if he leaves a wife or any dependent children, the allowance may be continued for up to two years at a rate not exceeding £477 2s. a year (9 3s. 6d. a week).

General. The War Pensions Appeal Board consists of a chairman, who is usually a Judge or Stipendiary Magistrate, and two members who are medical practitioners, one being appointed as a representative of members of the forces on the nomination of the New Zealand Returned Services' Association. Appeals may be made against any decision of the War Pensions Board in respect of attributability or assessment. They may also be made by claimants of war veterans' allowances whose applications have been declined on the grounds that they are not unfit for permanent employment.

War Bursaries. Bursaries for educational purposes are available to children of war veterans of seriously and permanently disabled ex-servicemen, and of deceased ex-servicemen in respect of whose deaths war pensions are paid.

Bursaries are paid at the following rates:

Maximum Annual Rate
£ s. d.
(a) Secondary school children 25 0 0
(b) Full-time university students 30 0 0
(c) Part-time university students 10 0 0
(d) Part-time secondary school children 1 10 0

The rates payable under (a) and (b) are doubled in the case of an orphan child or a child whose father or mother is in receipt of an economic pension or war veteran's allowance, or in any other case where the cost of educating the child is causing hardship to the parents or guardian.

Boarding Allowances: Annual Rate
Secondary and technical school children £50
University students – in every case £80

Supplementary Assistance. Additional assistance may be granted to war pensioners and veterans who, through ill health, family circumstances, or other good cause, are unable to maintain themselves and their dependants adequately on their pensions and allowances.

Growth of Pensions Programme. The above table sets out the numbers of pensions and allowances in force at 31 March, at five-yearly intervals from 1920 and the expenditure for the years ended on those dates. Division of the total expenditure for a year by the number of pensions in force at the end of that year provides an index illustrating the increase in the monetary value of pensions. Between 1920 and 1963 this index figure rose from £52 to 240.

by George James Brocklehurst, B.COM., A.R.A.N.Z., Chairman, Social Security Commission, and Secretary for War Pensions, Wellington.