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Another blow for war veterans


Labour 2000 web site
War veterans and their families have been short-changed by the National Government, Labour veterans affairs spokesperson Geoff Braybrooke said today.

"The Government has agreed to implement the limited recommendations of the inquiry led by Sir Paul Reeves which reported back in June. The terms of reference for the inquiry were always far too narrow and it is hard to understand some of the conclusions reached.

"The committee recommended that some of the children of veterans should receive free medical care and counselling, but believes there is no clear link between their medical problems and the exposure of veterans to Agent Orange and nuclear fallout.

"Inquiries overseas, especially in Australia, have come to very different conclusions. The report refers to the ranch-hand investigation from the United States. That is somewhat suprising, as that investigation has been totally discredited.

"The committee says there may be evidence of a link between the exposure of veterans and spina bifida in their children. Surely it is therefore possible that other birth defects are also linked.

"The Shipley Government refused to honour a promise to provide $200,000 for a class action by veterans exposed to British nuclear testing. Now their children, and the children of Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange, are being denied compensation."

Geoff Braybrooke said Labour will not abandon the veterans and their families. "What has been needed all along and what the next Labour Government is committed to, is a full inquiry into the health of the veterans themselves.

"We should not rely on overseas studies. New Zealand troops should be examined by New Zealand doctors and scientists."


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