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Inquiry into the health effects of Agent Orange

Inquiry into the health effects of Agent Orange

The Health Committee has decided on terms of references for its inquiry into the health effects of Agent Orange on New Zealand defence personnel who served in the Vietnam War.

“We intend focusing on identifying and examining evidence that New Zealand defence personnel were exposed to Agent Orange and other defoliant chemicals during the Vietnam War, including evidence that New Zealand defence personnel served in an area identified as defoliated by the United States defence forces,” said committee chairperson Steve Chadwick.

“As part of our inquiry, we will also evaluate the recent McLeod Report to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee inquiry into the health status of children of Vietnam and Operation Grapple veterans,” Mrs Chadwick said.

The committee will assess the health risks to defence personnel who served in Vietnam, and the exposure effects on families that have been identified in relevant international studies.

“We also intend to assess the current levels of health services for New Zealand veterans and their families who have been identified as being exposed to Agent Orange or other defoliant chemicals during the Vietnam War, and whether further health services are required,” Mrs Chadwick said.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are available at http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/Programme/Committees/PressReleases/

The committee is inviting submissions from organisations that represent Vietnam War veterans, and from relevant Government departments. “We are aware that many veterans and their families wish to contribute to our inquiry,” Mrs Chadwick said. “We suggest they contact the veterans’ organisations directly, so that those organisations’ submissions reflect their views.”

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