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Maori Party Seeks Dioxin Health Impact Response

Maori Party Seeks Comprehensive Response into the health impacts of Dioxin poisoning

Maori party co-leader, Tariana Turia, today congratulated the health select committee on its report into the exposure of New Zealand vietnam veterans to Agent Orange.

“Our veterans and their whanau, have waited for thirty years for this report, which confirms that Vietnam troops were exposed to a toxic environment” said Mrs Turia.

“The Government must honour their responsibility to respond to the devastating trauma experienced by Vietnam veterans, and the ongoing inter-generational impact on their children, in light of their exposure to Agent Orange and defoliant chemicals during their war service”.

Mrs Turia also welcomed the recommendations from the select committee’s report, that a fund be established to support further ‘scrutiny, analysis, surveillance and monitoring of international research literature on health outcomes, including intergenerational effects, resulting from dioxin poisioning’.

“What our people are seeking most, however, is action!”

“Action to address the inexplicable cancers, diabetes, ulcers and other health conditions suffered by the men who worked the forestry and sawmills, sites contaminated by PCP”.

Mrs Turia explained, “This could be immediate and simple, such as providing full, free and regular medical checkups for ex-sawmill workers from the Whakatane, Kawerau, Kinleith and Waipa sawmills and their families”.

“Action to address the adverse health effects such as cancers and birth deformities reported from Taranaki residents living near the ivon Watkins Dow chemical plant in Paritutu”.

“Action to recognise the genetic damage and serious health problems caused by the impact of Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans”.

“Action to address the impact for those naval personnel involved in supporting the British atmospheric tests at Christmas and Malden Islands, during Operation Grapple”;

“It is too late to save the lives of the many military and civilian personnel, sawmill workers, and other dioxin victims who have died a premature death” said Mrs Turia today. “We must not wait another thirty years to recognise the appalling impacts of exposure to dioxin”.

The Maori Party will be asking the Government to direct the Ministry of Health, Ministry for the Environment, ACC, OSH, Local Government, Dow Agrosciences, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), the War Pensions Appeal Board, Carter Holt Harvey, the Defence Force, Te Puni Kokiri and other relevant agencies to work with the Vietnam Veterans Association, Sawmill Workers Against Poison, and Dioxin Investigation Networks, to ensure a full and thorough response is developed to address the ongoing health impacts of exposure to nuclear radiation and chemical agents.

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