Damaged military veterans of modern conflicts are losing access to key support with a rapid response service cutting its hours because it can't afford to continue.
The reduction of service by No Duff leaves vulnerable around 30,000 contemporary veterans, many with mental health issues directly relating to their service abroad.
It follows a generational surge in military personnel being sent on operations to hotspots across the world, particularly from 1999 onwards, as the mass deployment to East Timor was followed by Iraq and then Afghanistan.
The withdrawal of services is a blow with sometimes suicidal veterans seeking help in an area Veterans' Affairs minister Ron Mark admits has gaps and isn't being met by the Returned and Services Association.
Veterans' Affairs figures show it has few contemporary veterans on its books with only 166 veterans aged under 60 compared to 6604 of those aged 60 or over.
The RSA has told the Herald it operates on a similar ratio.
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No Duff chief executive Aaron Wood - a veteran of Somalia, East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan - said the service was no longer able to offer support to veterans any hour of the day or night, any day of the year.
It had helped 107 veterans of the past year, most of whom were contemporary veterans, with a range of needs from needing support accessing services through to those calling "with their toes over the edge".
"We are aware of a number of others who have committed suicide. We know for a fact there are people who have taken their own lives as a result of their service."
No Duff received $25,000 in annual funding for four years after an announcement by Mark in 2017 which also saw the RSA receiving $250,000 a year.
A briefing to Mark from Veterans' Affairs in July - ahead of the Minister meeting with No Duff - said the group had estimated its annual costs at $184,000. "The government grant covers 14 per cent of these costs," Mark was told.
Wood said the service was cutting back to provide support outside working hours, its cadre of veteran volunteers struggling to do their jobs and dedicate time to emergency calls for help.
He said the need was increasing, with around 700 people leaving NZDF each year of which a quarter was assessed as being high risk.
Wood said the RSA wasn't up to the task with its bricks-and-mortar club structure not offering contemporary veterans what was needed.
"Their clubs are filled with grey heads. It's yellow food, pokie machines and cheap alcohol. There's a culture of them-and-us that has continued since World War Two."
He said the RSA had 105,000 paying members - of which a quarter had served - and received income through poppy sales. It also had more than 130 land titles held across the country.
"There's a lot of money there and a lot of funding but it comes down to the culture. The culture of the RSA leans towards the older veteran."
The issue was compounded with many contemporary veterans not seeing themselves as having that status, despite having to deal with the physical and psychological impacts of service in dangerous and difficult places.
Wood said the public also struggled to reconcile its understanding of a veteran, as seen marching on Anzac Day, with comparatively younger former service personnel who tended to stay among the crowd of onlookers.
Mark, who is in Timor Leste for the 20th anniversary of the international operation which shepherded in independence, said he had told No Duff there was no money immediately available.
He said any new money funding would have to come through a Budget bid next year and until then Veterans Affairs had been helping approach other agencies that might help with funding.
In a previously unpublished interview from March, Mark - himself a veteran - said his return from deployment was at a time where nothing was available.
"I think both Defence and RSA dropped the ball, for a long time."
Mark said the RSA was "jogged" by the emergence of No Duff - which registered as a charity in 2017.
"That was a jolt and a reminder to the RSA they had dropped the ball, that there was an issue out there. It's not just about turning up at the club, having a few beers, playing darts and a few games of pool… standing to attention at 6 o'clock and going home.
"This is about remembering the kaupapa that was set down by our forefathers who founded the RSA post Gallipoli. That was about welfare, wellbeing and support for veterans and their families."
Mark said the contemporary veteran deployed in different ways than the veterans from the great wars, who went in units tied to specific parts of the country and returned to those places in significant numbers.
Today's veterans could be among a deployment of 100 people, who fragmented to their own home towns and new postings on return.
He said there was no way his 1982 deployment to the Middle East could congregate without significant difficulties.
"With that in mind, if the RSA is going to play that role, and fulfil the kaupapa that it was established to support, it's got to find a way of getting me - as an individual and veteran of that deployment, and others - to walk through their door and feel at home and comfortable and at ease.
"It's got to find a way that I see in that building an environment and space where I can be me and meet other people like me and talk about experiences we had. That's difficult for the RSA because it is still very much entrenched in the old RSA."
RSA president Barry Clark said the organisation was open to any veteran wanting assistance.
"The advantage of No Duff is they know a lot of the people. (They) are known to a number of them and so they have achieved some very good results."
Clark rejected suggestions the RSA hadn't changed, pointing to the establishment of RSA hubs at Burnham and Linton camps to better connect with those serving.
It had also developed new programmes and training for district support managers.
"We need to continually inform those younger veterans of the services we can provide."
Clark confirmed there was no one on the RSA board or its presidents' forum who would qualify as a contemporary veteran, other than the NZDF delegate to its board.
"One of the things is that we need to attract those people to make themselves available."
He also confirmed no money had been spent marketing the organisation to contemporary veterans in the last year.
Clark said the RSA had, and would, make funding available to veterans whose needs to put to it by No Duff.
But he said there was no direct funding for No Duff. "The poppy funds are not for the running of another like organisation. They are for the support of those (individuals) identified as needing help.
"We are not in a position to assist the staffing funding of No Duff. We just don't have any funding to fix their staffing issues."
A spokeswoman for Veterans' Affairs said it provided "provides appropriate services to all veterans".
Services included treatment for injuries or illnesses linked to qualifying service, compensation for permanent disability or inability to work, rehabilitation and family support.
Veterans Advisory board chairman Leith Comer said he had not previously heard No Duff was reducing services and considered it doing so to be a loss.
"It would be of concern if groups that have in the past been very helpful aren't able to continue."
Deputy chairman Chester Borrows said: "No Duff's role is obviously growing and the population of contemporary veterans is growing. It appears to be a role the RSA is not fulfilling."
An internal review of the RSA which reported in September 2018 told the organisation it needed younger members.
"To survive at all the organisation needs to demonstrate relevance to the community and to recognise and meet the needs of those whom its existence is designed to support."
0800 693 348 (0800NZDF4U)
Need to talk: Dial 1737. Counsellors available 24/7.
No Duff Charitable Trust: 027 566 3833 (0275NODUFF). Monday - Friday, 5pm to 9pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 10pm.
Veterans Affairs: 0800 483 8372 (0800 4 Veteran).
Returned and Services Association (RSA): For urgent assistance, contact your nearest District Support Manager.