Three Services as one force, being the best in everything we do  

About the South-East Asia 1950-2011 REVIEW

Quick Links:

Minister of Defence's announcement of the Government's decisions - 13 March 2014

The Final Report of the Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group: Service in South-East Asia 1950-2011

More information and FAQs on the announcement on 13 March 2014

Previous Updates

General Information

Introduction

Brief

Service which already qualifies for medallic recognition

Principles for medallic recognition of operational service

Submissions (now closed)

Consultation period

Closing date for submissions

Who could make a submission?

How could a submission be made?

Questions on the submission process

Reporting Date, More Information and FAQs

Reporting Date to the Government

Then what happened?

More information and FAQs

 

Minister of Defence's announcement of the Government's decisions on the recommendations in the final report of the Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group: Service in South-East Asia 1950-2011.

Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group: Service in South-East Asia 1950-2011

13 March 2014

The Government agrees with the Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group’s report that military personnel who served in South-East Asia have been appropriately recognised and additional medallic recognition is not justified.

“I know today’s decision will be disappointing for the former service men and women who have petitioned for additional medallic recognition,” says Dr Coleman.

“I would like to thank those who made submissions, and also the Joint Working Group who conducted a comprehensive review of the issue.

“The Joint Working Group came to the unanimous conclusion that the valuable contribution made by service men and women in South-East Asia has already been appropriately recognised.

“The Government agrees with the Joint Working Group’s finding that the New Zealand Defence Service Medal is the appropriate medallic recognition for personnel who served throughout the world in a range of deployments that do not meet the criteria for operational service. Nearly all military personnel who served in South-East Asia from 1950 are eligible for this medal.”

The Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group: Service in South-East Asia 1950-2011 received 68 submissions. The Joint Working Group included representatives from the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, Veterans' Affairs New Zealand, and the NZ Defence Force.

The Joint Working Group’s report can be downloaded as pdf files via the links below.

The Final Report of the Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group: Service in South-East Asia 1950-2011

The Final Report of the Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group: Service in South-East Asia 1950-2011 (pdf format - 2.29 MB)

Related documents declassified and publicly released at the request of the Joint Working Group:

1. Declassified documents concerning transits of the Indonesian Straits (pdf format - 5.35 MB)

2. Declassified documents concerning transits of the Taiwan Strait (pdf format - 1.97 MB)

More information and FAQs on the announcement on 13 March 2014

For more information on the review see the South-East Asia Review Frequently Asked Questions page.

Image used for separation of news items

Previous Updates on the South-East Asia 1950-2011 Review

20 December 2013

The Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group has presented its final report.

The Government will consider the report in 2014.

The Government's decisions on the recommendations from the Joint Working Group will be widely publicised, including in the RSA Review and on the Breaking News page of the NZDF Medals website.

23 September 2013

The Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group has completed its additional archival research on naval service from 1950 to the 1970s.

One of the positive outcomes of the extra research has been the location of some of the instructions given to Royal New Zealand Navy Ships.

These documents will be important in the final decision-making process and we have now forwarded our findings to the Royal New Zealand Navy for comment.

Once they have provided feedback on the findings, we will finalise this report along with the main report on service in South-East Asia. Both reports will then be submitted to the Minister of Defence for his consideration.

The Joint Working Group expects to present its final report to the Government before the end of 2013.

The Government's decisions on the recommendations from the Joint Working Group will be widely publicised, including in the RSA Review and on the Breaking News page of the NZDF Medals website.

30 May 2013

The Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group has nearly finished its archival research. This has been a challenging review because of its extensive scope. Research on the range of issues and questions raised has required far more time and effort than was first expected.

One of the positive outcomes of the extra research has been the location of some of the instructions given to Royal New Zealand Navy Ships. These documents will be important in the final decision-making process.

The Joint Working Group expects to present its final report to the Government by July 2013.

The Government's decisions on the recommendations from the Joint Working Group will be widely publicised, including in the RSA Review and on the Breaking News page of the NZDF Medals website.

4 March 2013

The Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group received 68 submissions on service in South-East Asia. After considering the submissions, the Joint Working Group submitted an interim report to the Minister of Defence in November 2011.

The Joint Working Group is currently undertaking further archival research and will then finalise its report and recommendations. The Joint Working Group expects to present its final report to the Government in April 2013.

The Government's decisions on the recommendations from the Joint Working Group will be widely publicised, including in the RSA Review and on the Breaking News page of the NZDF Medals website.

24 August 2011

Submissions have now closed.

General Information

Introduction

Some aspects of the service by New Zealand military personnel in South-East Asia between 1950 and today are currently not eligible for medallic recognition. In 2005, the Minister of Defence instructed that this situation be researched and reported upon for the period 1950-1975. An independent historian was employed by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to research the subject, and then prepare a report covering the period up to 1975. The full report of findings can be downloaded from this webpage. The current Government has directed that the consultation is extended to also cover service up to the present.

The Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group (JWG) under the leadership of Independent Chair Neil Walter, a former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has received the full report, published this consultation document, and made the full copy of the report freely available on the NZDF Medals website. The JWG invited submissions on service from 1950-1975 and also on service from May 1975 (end of the Vietnam War) to the present.

The consultation period was from Tuesday 12 July 2011 to Tuesday 23 August 2011.

Brief

The instructions to the independent historian were to assess examples of service that do not currently qualify for medallic recognition, and assess whether that service should qualify under current criteria as “operational service”.

Service which already qualifies for medallic recognition

Most operational service in South-East Asia up to 1966 already qualifies for some medallic recognition by New Zealand. This relates to the operational service in the region in Malaya/Malaysia, Thailand and the Indonesian Confrontation.  In addition, operational service in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975 also receives medallic recognition from New Zealand.

It should be noted that some individuals have undertaken operational service in South-East Asia but not for enough days to meet the requirements to be awarded a medal.

Principles for medallic recognition of operational service

The assessment of service for medallic recognition takes into account the Government's principles for recognising “operational service”. These principles were approved by Cabinet in 2000.

Peacetime service overseas may be demanding and of strategic value, but it is generally similar to that completed in New Zealand. Under Principle 1 of the New Zealand Government’s Principles for the Medallic Recognition of Operational Service: “Medals are awarded to recognise service that is beyond the normal requirements of peacetime service in New Zealand”.

The Government’s practice has been that “No service is recognised by the award of a medal for operational service unless there has been operational activity involving a risk of casualties and the possibility that the use of force may be required”.

Normal peacetime duties such as training and garrison duties will not be assessed as operational service unless undertaken in a location where there is a credible threat from enemy military forces. It is important to note that while actual combat does not have to occur, a credible expectation of it must exist.

So while the New Zealand military presence in South-East Asia from 1950 to 1989 was part of our contribution to strategic forward defence, only the operational service in relation to the conflicts in Malaya/Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand and Vietnam currently qualify for medallic recognition.

Submissions (NOW CLOSED)

Consultation period

The consultation period was from Tuesday 12 July 2011 to Tuesday 23 August 2011.

Closing date for submissions

The closing date for submissions was Tuesday 23 August 2011.

Who could make a submission?

Any interested persons or organisations were invited to make a written submission.

How could a submission be made?

1.  Please carefully read the three documents which can be downloaded below before making your submission.

2.  Then submissions (with supporting evidence and a completed Checklist for Submissions) were e-mailed to medals.admp@nzdf.mil.nz ; or posted to:

Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group
c/- Deputy Director Medals Policy
Defence Personnel Executive
Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force
Private Bag 39997
WELLINGTON 5045

 

Neil Walter
Independent Chair
Medallic Recognition Joint Working Group
12 July 2011

Note: This review did not consider eligibility for entitlements under the War Pensions Act 1954.

UPDATE 24 August 2011: Submissions have now closed.

Questions on the submission process

Questions on the submission process were able to be sent to the Deputy Director Medals Policy at the e-mail or postal address given above.

Reporting Date, More Information and FAQs

Reporting Date to the Government

The Joint Working Group submitted an interim report to the Minister of Defence in November 2011. It then undertook further archival research and finalised its report and recommendations. The Joint Working Group presented its final report in December 2013.

Then what happened?

The Government's decisions on the recommendations from the Joint Working Group were announced on 13 March 2014.

More information and FAQs

For more information on the review see the South-East Asia Review Frequently Asked Questions page.

Quick Links

 This page was last reviewed 4 April, 2014 and is current.

Chief of Defence Force
Defence House
2 - 12 Aitken Street
Wellington
+64 4 496 0999

Royal New Zealand Navy

New Zealand rmy

Royal New Zealand Airforce