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National celebrates victory for veterans

Judith Collins National Party Health Spokeswoman

6 October 2004

National celebrates victory for veterans

Today is a victory for Vietnam veterans and their families effected by Agent Orange, says National's health spokeswoman Judith Collins.

The Health select committee report released today found that the New Zealand soldiers were subject to areas that had been sprayed with Agent Orange.

Ms Collins, who sought the inquiry, says veterans have waited too long for this day.

"After being told more than 30 years ago that they had been sprayed only once with Agent Orange, veterans now have proof that the area they served in was one of the most sprayed in Vietnam, sprayed up to 350 times."

Ms Collins says Veterans' Affairs Minister George Hawkins had been dismissive and disrespectful of veterans' concerns. He had even gone so far as to say he had 'some scepticism' about the map of sprayed areas that prompted the new inquiry.

"Sadly, too many veterans have not lived to see this victory," Ms Collins said.


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