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Government Tackles Dieldrin Dumps

The government is moving to help three Southland families who bought Crown land without realising dieldrin had been dumped on their properties.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and the Minister for Land Information Paul Swain said today that negotiations on repurchasing the land will start as soon as possible with the owners.

"These families have been trying to resolve this matter since 1993 when the sites were publicly identified by the Southland Regional Council," the Ministers said.

"It has caused severe emotional stress to these families, who have got to the point of wanting to sell up and move on with their lives. The government has listened to their plight.

"They could come to no resolution with the previous government whose rigid policies stonewalled attempts at some sort of settlement.

"This week the Cabinet agreed to a number of options that can be applied to these farms, including outright purchase of the land. This new option will be discussed with the individual owners as soon as possible.

"This means other New Zealanders - who bought former Crown land, who can prove dieldrin or DDT was dumped there, who bought the land without knowing about the dumps and where failure to repurchase the land is likely to cause severe economic and social hardship - will have a wider range of options than under the previous Government.

"We believe we have struck the fairest deal for those New Zealanders affected," Helen Clark and Paul Swain said.

Ends

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