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Government Yellow On Agent Orange

06 October 2004

Government Yellow On Agent Orange

New Zealand First is calling on the Government to compensate Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange, and their families, as has been done by other nations whose servicemen were similarly affected.

Labour select committee members, with the support of some other committee members, arrogantly denied the inclusion of the New Zealand First minority report that also recommended that an apology be extended to the veterans and their families, according to spokesperson Pita Paraone.

“Successive governments have tried to deny the extent of harm, claiming there was not enough scientific evidence to support a causative link between exposure to Agent Orange and subsequent illnesses,” said Mr Paraone.

“What the select committee inquiry into the health effects of Agent Orange showed was that exposure to Agent Orange is linked to a range of health problems including cancers, blindness and birth defects in the children of the veterans.

“What was also established beyond any doubt was that New Zealand troops were in fact exposed to the aerial spraying of the defoliant by the United States Defence Force. This had been denied in various reports and inquiries over the years.

“Now that has been recognised it is time to allow some closure on what has been a long and dispiriting battle for validation and recognition of their war experiences by those veterans. New Zealand First insists this must include an apology and compensation.

“The lives of many of these men and their families have been irreversibly altered, not only by the ordeal of war, but also by the exposure to pathological toxins that have caused significant health problems and loss of quality of life,” said Mr Paraone.

ENDS


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