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Agent Orange inquiry welcomed

Agent Orange inquiry welcomed

The Green Party is thrilled at the agreement today to hold a select committee inquiry into New Zealanders' exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

"There appear to have been attempts to cover up the whole issue for years, and the inquiry offers a long-overdue opportunity to get to the bottom of the whole affair," Ms Kedgley said.

"The Green Party has been calling for years for a thorough investigation into the health effects of veterans' exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants during the Vietnam War.

"Veterans have the right to know if they were exposed and what the health effects may be, and to have full recognition and health assistance from the Government," Ms Kedgley said.

The Health Select Committee, which Ms Kedgley deputy chairs, decided at its meeting today to hold a formal inquiry.

"The fact that we have had opposing stories from veterans and the Government about whether New Zealand personnel were exposed to the tree-defoliating chemical Agent Orange in Vietnam means a full and thorough examination is required.

"This is the first step in finding the truth."

The inquiry was sparked by a Kiwi saying that an official map, given to him in Vietnam, shows that the province he served in was subject to chemical defoliation. A Veterans' Affairs Department report had claimed there was no spraying of Agent Orange in this province.

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