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Greens call for Government apology, action

23 October 2006

Greens call for Government apology, action

Green Party Health Spokesperson MP Sue Kedgley is calling on the Prime Minister to apologise for the actions of successive governments in denying, covering-up and falsely re-assuring people living near the Dow Chemical-owned plant in Paritutu, New Plymouth, about the health consequences of living near a plant manufacturing the dioxin-containing chemical 245T..

Ms Kedgley was responding to revelations in tonight's TV3 documentary Let Us Spray, that successive governments had deliberately played down the health effects on people living near the Dow plant.

Following the new revelations, Ms Kedgley called for the Government to immediately initiate a six point programme of response :

1. issue a formal apology to the Paritutu community for the role of successive governments in promoting and subsidising the use of 245T, and in concealing its effects.
2. launch legal action against the parent Dow Chemical company in the interests of obtaining compensation for residents, and to demonstrate that New Zealand is not a place where multinationals can readily escape the consequences of their actions.
3. create a national register of those current and former Paritutu residents affected with symptoms of dioxin poisoning
4. provide free healthcare and a blood serum test for those people ( and their children) on the register.
5. appoint an inter-generational study of the health effects of the Dow Chemical plant's proximity to the residents and former residents of Paritutu, to be carried out independently of the Ministry of Health
6. provide accident compensation to all employees who worked in the Dow factory and who suffer health effects as a consequence.
"As an initial step, the Government must now own the problem and apologise - just as it apologised to Vietnam veterans.over its failures regarding Agent Orange. Successive Labour and National led governments worked hand in glove with Dow, put the health of residents at risk by promoting and subsidising the use of 245T; and falsely gave safety reassurances in the face of mounting international evidence of its harm.

" The Green Party is calling for a register of all persons who lived in the exposed area during the 1960's and 70's to be developed, and for all persons on the register to be offered free medical services. An inter-generational study must also be carried out to see whether there could be effects on second and third generations, as is now evident within Vietnam.

"Accident Compensation should also be offered immediately to all workers who worked in the Dow factory and have health effects. At present only a handful of workers have been awarded accident compensation.".


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