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Bringing Agent Orange compensation back home

7 December 2006

Bringing Agent Orange compensation back home

The compensation package for Vietnam veterans exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange has been welcomed by Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley, who said the package could ultimately guide the handling of dioxin poisoning issues in New Plymouth.

"The Government is to be congratulated for having the courage to properly apologise for the wrongs done to Vietnam veterans, and for devising a comprehensive and innovative compensation package for the huge suffering that these veterans and their families have gone through.

"For more than three decades, successive governments denied responsibility for exposing our soldiers to a toxic environment, and they engaged in cover-ups about the terrible effects of Agent Orange. This compensation package should finally lay this disgraceful episode to rest.

"I hope the compensation package will serve as a useful template for how compensation issues are finally handled with respect to the residents of Paritutu, who have been exposed to dioxin poisoning from the nearby Ivor Watkins Dow chemicals factory.

"Having successfully devised a compensation package to deal with the offshore use of Agent Orange, it is now time the Government brought the same courage and innovation to the suffering being experienced by the domestic victims of dioxin," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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