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Poisoned workers need compensation fund

2 December 2004

Poisoned workers need compensation fund

The Greens are strongly supporting a call for the Dow Chemical Company to set up a national fund to compensate workers, individuals and families poisoned by 245T and 24 D.

"We have got to implement the principle of 'polluter pays' in New Zealand" Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said. "Otherwise, companies like Dow will continue to pollute our environment and our people and expect taxpayers to foot the bill."

Green Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley added: "The Government has strong evidence that people living near the Dow plant have been contaminated by dioxin and had their health affected as a result. It must hold Dow to account and demand that the company provide compensation for the harm that it has caused to the local population."

The Green Party is responding to a report by Greenpeace, released today, which calls for Dow to set up a national compensation fund and for the Government to set up specialist health services for people poisoned by dioxin.

Ms Kedgley said the Government urgently needed to provide medical help and specialised health care centres to treat residents who were suffering from health problems as a result of dioxin exposure.

"The Government provides health and financial assistance to Vietnam veterans with health problems as a result of their exposure to dioxins. It must extend the same health and financial services to New Zealanders who have dioxin-related health problems.

"Otherwise, we will be in the extraordinarily unfair sitution of denying treatment and compensation for dioxin exposure to ordinary New Zealand citizens while providing benefits to veterans for, in many instances, lower levels of exposure."

ENDS

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