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25 April 2000

Medal changes for the NZ Defence Force

Hon Mark Burton

The Government is addressing a long-standing grievance by ensuring that those involved in operational military service receive an appropriate New Zealand medallic recognition, the Minister of Defence Mark Burton announced today.

"Medals are awarded to recognise service that is beyond the normal requirements of peacetime service. Deserving service by New Zealand personnel should be recognised by a New Zealand award. This has not always been the case in the past.

"Acting on the advice of a working party which included representatives from the New Zealand Defence Force and the RSA, this Government is placing a new emphasis on a distinct New Zealand recognition.

"This is a further and important stage in the development of New Zealand's Honours system," Mr Burton said.
"The policy will be applied retrospectively to 1952 for appropriate operations. The 1952 date reflects the accession of Queen Elizabeth, and it also coincides with the first peacekeeping deployments of New Zealand personnel.

"It will not mean the automatic award of medals where service has already been adequately recognised by the New Zealand government.
"However, there are at least a dozen military operations conducted since 1952 in which New Zealand personnel have not received a distinctly New Zealand award for their service. This will now be rectified.

"Approximately 1700 personnel involved in past operations may now be eligible for a New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM)."
Mr Burton also announced that a distinct New Zealand medal would be awarded to recognise service in East Timor.

"The East Timor Medal will be awarded to New Zealand military, police and civilian personnel sent to East Timor, subject to precise qualifying details.

"Full details of the new medal will be announced following approval by the Queen," Mr Burton said.

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