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Fair Go: Wednesday May 30

Published: 6:04PM Wednesday May 30, 2012

Missing Medals
Pete Cronshaw
Paul Manion is the grandson of a highly decorated WW2 veteran, Brigadier George Palmer Cade. A career soldier, Brigadier Cade had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for acts of bravery and "mentioned in dispatches". He also received numerous medals for his part in various WW2 campaigns. A couple years ago Paul embarked on a journey of discovery, researching his grandfather's service records and investing thousands of dollars in original WW2 medals. Those medals were then sent to an Invercargill Medal Conservator for mounting. A couple of years down the track and Paul is still waiting for the return of some of his medals. As for those he received - the news is all bad. Tonight Paul discovers some of his medals  have been replaced with fakes.

Invercargill Police have confirmed an investigation is underway and they want to hear from anyone who is worried about the authenticity of their medals after entrusting them to the care of Owen Gough or M J Chapman. You can contact Invercargill Police on 03 211-0400.

Claiming medals
If you think your family member, or your family, is entitled to unclaimed War Medals, or you simply want to find out what medals they were entitled to:
World War One
Original medals awarded in World War One and before, cannot now be claimed even if for some reason they weren't given out at the time. It's simply too late - but any family member can get replicas - see information below.
For information on WW1 and Boer War medals - go first to the Auckland Museum's Cenotaph database and fill in your family members details. You can then also go to the National Archives, which holds a massive amount of war material on individuals, including images of all the the medals.
The Archives do not hold the same amount of information on World War Two and more recent veterans, since many are still alive and there are privacy restrictions. You can also try visiting  the Defense Force website as below.
World War Two and Since:
Most of the unclaimed medals involved World War Two because medals weren't given out, they had to be applied for and many veterans simply didn't apply, including those who served in the Home Guard.
Also, a huge number of New Zealand Defense Service medals are unclaimed. This recent medals acknowledges all who have served in the forces since WW2.  Go to the Defense Force website above. It helps if you have date of birth and service number of your family member.
This website tells you how to apply for any unclaimed medals and what your family member was entitled to.
You can also get replicas of pretty much every medal awarded - contact the Defense Force or a reputable medal expert. Master Medal Maker Aubrey Bairstow, who featured in Fair Go's story, charges the following:
Full size medals - $35 - a set of five campaign medals, including mounting,  would cost $175.
Mini medals - $25 - these are often worn by children and grandchildren - a mounted, five medal set costs $125.

Fast food
Ali Mau
We regularly get complaints from Fair Go viewers, that the fast food they've bought doesn't live up to its billing. The burgers in the pictures look so big, plump and delicious, why doesn't my burger look like the one in the ad?

Prompted by an email from viewer Sam in Napier, Fair Go bought a selection of burgers from three of the big chains - McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King, and took them to fast food king Michael Van De Elzen for his opinion. The chef behind the hit show The Food Truck was unimpressed by what he saw, arguing that looks do have a lot to do with how we enjoy our food. We ask experienced food stylist Diane Kenderdine to show us how she makes the burgers look so good in the ads, and explain why they can't live up to their pictures once they've been assembled and wrapped; and we get the official response from Danielle Lendich, the CEO of Wendy's Old Fashioned Burgers.

The Commerce Commission says consumers are only being misled if the photos show different ingredients to the ones on your burger. All the big chains say their burgers are photographed so customers can clearly see every ingredient. They say - much like TV presenters who get their hair and makeup done - their products have to look their best under lights. Burger King calls it a little star treatment , and say their food is made by real people, using real ingredients. McDonald's say they hope most of the time what you get is a fair reflection of whats shown in the ads.

Accountancy claims
Gordon Harcourt
We think part of our job is to test the claims that businesses make to you. Accountants, of all people, should make claims you can trust.  We're dealing with a Waikato accountant.  We think some of the claims he makes are just silly.

His name is Michael Levertoff, and was Michael Fresnel, and was Michael Weaver.   The name changes were for personal reasons. He's a former bankrupt.   You won't find that information on, the website he operates.
Until Monday you would have found the claim that he has "600 staff".  He doesn't.   A data processing company in Auckland does some work for him.  That company has 600 staff, in India.
He claims to comply with the NZICA Code of Ethics.  NZICA is the Institute of Chartered Accountants.  He's not a member and NZICA is not very happy at all about that claim.
He claims to be the "7th largest accounting brand in New Zealand geographically".  We're not sure what that actually means, but NZICA hadn't heard of him till we asked.
He claims 13 agencies across the country.  I've confirmed one.  He has promised to supply more information.
He used to run an accountancy business in Hamilton, but says it's now insolvent. I've spoken to several angry suppliers and former clients.  Some are owed thousands.  One got a Disputes Tribunal order against him for about $13,000.  She settled for $4000.
I've also spoken to four clients happy or very happy with his work.

Choosing an accountant
Interestingly, anybody can call themselves "accountant" since a 1996 change in the law.  However only NZICA members can call themselves Chartered Accountants (CA).
What's the difference?  Education, qualifications, on-going training, compliance programmes, access to the NZICA complaints procedure, governed by legislation.
There are plenty of skilled people who aren't CA, and if you're just after someone to do the books for a small business, well maybe a CA is overkill.   But if they claim to be CA then check it out, here
The other significant qualification is CPA, or Certified Practising Accountant, an Australian professional body. 
As with most things, we suggest a contract or letter of appointment in writing, to minimise surprises.  Agree on fees beforehand, where possible.

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