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Government Called to Honour its War Veterans

Member for Waiariki Calls on Government to Honour its War Veterans

Te Ururoa Flavell;
Member of Parliament for Waiariki;
21 December 2005

Member of Parliament for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, today called on the Government to honour its obligations to our Vietnam Veterans.

"Last November, many New Zealanders were over-whelmed with the sense of history and grief that was attached to the return of the Unknown Warrior" stated Mr Flavell. "We thought of all those who died in a wartime sacrifice, we admired their selfless service to the nation".

"A month later, we remembered the savage impact of war, following the Government's report confirming that Vietnam troops were exposed to a toxic environment through Agent Orange".

"It is appalling that a year since the release of that report, the Government has not yet honoured those veterans who through a profound sense of duty and loyalty, went to war in the interests of our nation".

"The Government must be guided by their example, and also take responsibility in responding to the devastating trauma experienced by Vietnam veterans".

"Today I see the names of other returned soldiers from Vietnam, Lieutenant Colonel John Hall and Major John Booth, both who have passed on. The death notice of Major John Booth included the reference to " a long and valiant battle with the effects of exposure to Agent Orange".

"To these two sons of Tumatauenga, you who felt the heat of battle, farewell."

"Within the Waiariki electorate there are ex-servicemen who have fought in Vietnam. In Rotorua I know local returned serviceman, Lou Phillips, and have admired the fierce courage and determination of the man, to keep on fighting for justice" said Mr Flavell.

"Lou Phillips and his whanau - are a painful reminder of the ongoing inter-generational impact that has followed their exposure to Agent Orange and defoliant chemicals during their war service".

"They have waited thirty years for the Government to acknowledge what they always knew was true - the genetic damage and serious health problems caused by the impact of Agent Orange"

"We must not let another year go by without giving our Vietnam veterans the compensation and recognition they deserve".

ENDS


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