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Nats seeks broad support for Agent Orange probe

National seeks broad support for Agent Orange probe

The National Party is seeking broad support as it pursues a select committee inquiry into the exposure of our troops to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

"It's now clear there are some serious questions being raised about an earlier Government report into the issue, and we need to address that," says the National Party Associate Health Spokesperson Judith Collins.

She's commenting about a report by the Wellington School of Medicine, which found Kiwi troops generally served in areas 'where there was no aerial spraying'.

"But now veterans are producing documents that make very different claims and the Health Select Committee is well placed to start asking who is right," Mrs Collins says.

"If the Veterans' Affairs Department won't say publicly how it got its information, then the Select Committee needs to ask on behalf of our returned servicemen and women.

"The Minister and the Department have been dismissive and disrespectful," Mrs Collins says.

"It smacks to me of saying: I'm not going to answer any more questions because it is all getting a bit too nasty and difficult.

"I hope parties of other political persuasions, like Act, New Zealand First, United Future and the Greens will support the National Party call for this inquiry," says Mrs Collins. Meanwhile, National Party Veterans' Affairs Spokesman Richard Worth says George Hawkins should be sacked over his bungled handling of the affair.

"The Minister should be relieved of his responsibilities because it's quite clear he has no interest in the Veterans' Affairs portfolio," says Mr Worth.

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