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PM refuses to give apology to Agent Orange vets

PM refuses to give apology to Agent Orange vets

Tuesday 14 Dec 2004

Rodney Hide - Press Releases - Other

In Parliament today ACT Leader Rodney Hide tried in vain to get Helen Clark to spit out an apology to those Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.

"Veterans will be hugely disappointed that the Prime Minister has ducked for cover and wheeled out her Minister George Hawkins to offer a Clayton's apology and pay lip service. This is second rate. Those who served in such adverse conditions deserve better than some low-ranked Minister."

Mr Hide's comments follow the Government today tabling in Parliament its response to the Report of the Health Select Committee Inquiry into the exposure of New Zealand defence personnel to Agent Orange and other defoliant chemicals during the Vietnam War and any health effects of that exposure.

"I pushed for the Prime Minister to get to her feet in the House today. Instead, she stayed in her seat and ignored the opportunity. Veterans don't want weasel words from George Hawkins about how he's going to drag out these historic issues for even longer. Veterans want a straight-up formal apology now from this Government and given by Helen Clark.

"Tabling a report and walking away is not what this should be about. The veterans deserve real closure and only the Prime Minister can give it," said Mr Hide.

ENDS

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