Peters Welcomes Anticipated Honouring Commitment
PETERS WELCOMES ANTICIPATED HONOURING OF COMMITMENT
New Zealand First has welcomed an anticipated government move to allocate funds towards nuclear veterans taking a class action.
At New Zealand First’s insistence the 1996 Coalition Agreement contained an undertaking to fund up to $200,000 “for a possible class action by New Zealand veterans (Christmas Islands) against the United Kingdom Government”, said New Zealand First Leader, Rt. Hon Winston Peters.
“ As Treasurer I met with representatives of the veterans and was awaiting their application when the Coalition ceased in August 1998. The veterans later presented their application to the minority National Government who failed to honour this pledge. Their weak excuse was that such a case was unlikely to succeed though they had no expertise to make such a judgement. In reality National was cowered by the British High Commissioner who told me in person, in my office, that a New Zealand Government’s support for the veterans’ case would be seen by his Government as “an unfriendly act”. This was in spite of the fact that the UK veterans had already taken their case to the European Court.
“The present government is to be congratulated should they accept, as New Zealand First did, that we have an obligation to those hundreds of New Zealanders that were sent in experimental circumstances to the British nuclear testing site,” said Mr Peters.