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Government must apologise to residents, and sue

26 October 2006

Government must apologise to residents, and sue Dow

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said she was shocked and saddened the Minister of Health, Pete Hodgson, refused to apologise today to Paritutu residents affected by dioxin contamination from the manufacture and spraying of 245T.

"I can't believe the Minister couldn't find it in himself to apologise for the trauma and suffering that the actions of successive governments over the years had caused residents living near the Dow plant in New Plymouth.

"The government apologised to Vietnam veterans for the failure of governments in the past to recognise that veterans had been exposed to a toxic environment," Ms Kedgley pointed out. "Why can't it apologise to the people of Paritutu who were also exposed to a toxic environment?"

Ms Kedgley said she was also astonished by the Minister's statement in the House that the government would not take legal action against Dow Chemical because 'the company acted within the rules.'"

"Is the Minister saying it is acceptable for multinational corporations to come to New Zealand, pollute our environment and poison our people, providing they abide by the rules at the time?' Ms Kedgley asked.

Ms Kedgley pointed out that successful legal action had been taken against Dow and other companies by Vietnam veterans for the health effects they suffered as a result of being sprayed with Agent Orange, despite the fact that spraying had been sanctioned by governments.

"It would appear that successive governments had worked hand in glove with Dow for many so many years that the government was fearful of what might be uncovered if the lid was lifted in a lawsuit against the company," Ms Kedgley said.

ENDS

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