The Government says 2006 will be the Year of the Veteran.

Veterans Affairs Minister George Hawkins made the announcement at the Returned Services Association national conference in Wellington yesterday.

The day before - with Prime Minister Helen Clark listening - RSA president John Campbell called on the Government to declare 2006 the Year of the Veteran.

The year also marks the RSA's 90th anniversary and the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Helen Clark opened the conference with a speech about the Government's investment in defence equipment and personnel during the past five years.

She also announced a working group would consult Vietnam veterans around the country to resolve the Agent Orange.

This morning it will be National leader Don Brash's turn to address the conference.