Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange
Posted 23 November 2003 - 09:28 AM
23 November 2003
Three of Evan McKenzie's four children have disabilities. This week, a select committee will hear his belief that he was exposed to Agent Orange, reports MATTHEW LOWE.
The skies above Kiwi soldier Evan McKenzie and his patrol were clear but something rained down on them as they prepared to set off through Vietnam's dense vegetation.
Despite an oily film on his coffee after a plane from the allied forces passed overhead, the young soldier gulped it down.
That was more than 30 years ago and at the time the soldiers did not think much of the incident. Today the veteran has three children suffering from disabilities and believes his life - and that of many of his brothers in arms - have been ruined by exposure to Agent Orange.
McKenzie served with the New Zealand Army's Whiskey Two company and was sent to Vietnam in November 1968 before being flown home with serious injuries from a land mine blast in July the following year.
Of his four children, three have spina bifida-related conditions. His eldest daughter Paula, 26, has Down's Syndrome and congenital heart problems; Mindy, 25, has severe congenital deformities; and his son Hamish, 16, has a minor problem affecting his vertebrae.
McKenzie, from Tauranga, and fellow soldiers have battled the government for 30 years for recognition that they were exposed to Agent Orange.
The 55-year-old will finally get a chance to tell his story in Auckland on Tuesday when parliament's health select committee hears evidence from veterans and some of their widows and children.
The inquiry into the exposure of New Zealand defence personnel to Agent Orange and other defoliant chemicals during the Vietnam War - and any resulting health effects - was launched by the government in July.
Chaired by Labour MP Steve Chadwick, the committee will hear further personal accounts in Wellington on Wednesday before making its recommendations.
She hopes the inquiry will "put to rest" veterans' concerns about the spray and make sure they are receiving the level of services they deserve.
It is the latest attempt to resolve the Agent Orange issue, with previous Kiwi reports and inquiries criticised by veterans as they have often flown in the face of other international studies.
McKenzie said it was "despicable" that the government had still not established whether troops sent to Vietnam were sprayed.
"Finally after 30 years there has been a concession but it is only to establish whether we were in areas that might have been sprayed and whether we were actually sprayed.
"So much evidence has been given over the years, not just from New Zealand veterans but from medical experts across the world, and if they can't get enough from that I'm not sure this isn't a pointless exercise.
"The first thing this inquiry should do is recognise once and for all that it did happen and New Zealand troops were exposed."
McKenzie was based in one of the most heavily defoliated regions during the conflict and recalls being sprayed by a plane during a three-day mission.
"We got up early one morning and were packing our packs when a plane came over and sprayed us. Everyone thought: OWhat the hell could that be?' But we just carried on with our operation.
"Someone said maybe they were spraying for mosquitoes or malaria, but that didn't make much sense as we were in enemy territory.
"Years later we've talked about it and it was obviously defoliant."
McKenzie believes troops suffered some of the worst exposure to the chemical when they were posted to areas already sprayed.
"We went to one site for two months and it was totally defoliated, there wasn't a single leaf or blade of grass in the area and it was just dust.
"We drew our water from the water courses there and if anything that would have caused more damage, but we had no option. You lay in the dust at night, you sat in it and it was just everywhere. You could not get it out of the pores of your skin."
The veterans claim exposure to the chemical spray has led to medical conditions in the troops and their children.
"It is hard to see, as we have been told, that it is just coincidental," said McKenzie.
"When you have three out of four children with defects, and it is not something you can track back through the family genes, it makes you wonder."
More than 11 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed across South Vietnam by US military forces to destroy enemy cover, eliminate crops and clear base perimeters.
At this week's inquiry the Vietnam Veterans' Association of New Zealand will present previously classified Australian government documents showing the chemicals were mixed with contaminated aviation fuel before being dumped.
Association president John Moller is seeking an end to "30 years of lies and deception". He is not seeking compensation for members but said many individuals may pursue cases against the crown if a link between Agent Orange and adverse health was established. "We'll be presenting to the committee the history of what occurred, what we think happened and the fact there's been no meaningful studies done on New Zealand veterans or their children.
"If we can set the historical mistakes right it is up to the veterans what they do about it and some may well take legal action.
"It is probably too late to do tests on the guys because most are pushing 60 and will soon start falling to bits. But leaving New Zealand a better place for our children and grandchildren is the important thing."
Veteran Malcolm Ball, from Ruawai, Northland, said it was "disgusting" that the matter was ongoing in New Zealand.
"The government and defence officials could have saved people if they had kept up with the play and got people to have tests so they could spot these illnesses early. The government has kept this quiet and let people die early which to me is a criminal offence."
Posted 23 November 2003 - 09:39 AM
23 November 2003
Vietnam veterans are angry at New Zealand's continued reluctance to accept that troops were exposed to Agent Orange during the war despite overseas governments having long recognised it happened to their soldiers.
Politicians in Australia and America have admitted soldiers were sprayed during the conflict from 1962 to 1971 - admissions which saw thousands of veterans awarded compensation.
New Zealand deployed about 3200 soldiers to Vietnam and today about 2700 are still alive.
If the government agrees to fund treatment of medical conditions linked to the highly toxic dioxins it could face a monthly bill of more than $400,000, based on similar payments in the US.
NZ First MP and former soldier Ron Mark believes officials should finally admit to having exposed men to the herbicide.
"How is it that everyone else around the world understands the matter and we still don't? No amount of trying to duck the issue is going to make it go away.
"The most common of grievances is the way those affected have been treated, that great denial or reluctance on the part of successive governments to properly investigate the issue.
"The government owes these people and a proper inquiry will help alleviate some of the anger and the angst that still exists."
A government inquiry into the health of children of Vietnam soldiers in 1999, chaired by Sir Paul Reeves, failed to find "sufficient evidence of an association" between the spray and illnesses.
Only spina bifida was categorised as having limited or suggestive evidence of a link. The government started paying for care of veterans' children with that and cleft lip or palate two years ago.
Last year a report by Deborah McLeod, from Otago University's Wellington School of Medicine, caused uproar among former soldiers. She found there had been "very limited potential" for the soldiers to be exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Australia's Department of Veterans' Affairs has rejected a direct link with poor health and the spray but gives the benefit of the doubt to troops on a case-by-case basis. It also funds medical care to veterans' children born with cleft lip or palate, spina bifida, acute myeloid leukemia, and adrenal gland cancer.
The US began compensating veterans after a 1986 lawsuit raised the matter. Health care and compensation has been available to their children who suffer spina bifida for the past seven years.
Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991, which requires ongoing research to find what other diseases might be related to the herbicide.
Posted 23 November 2003 - 08:05 PM
Agent Orange Study (Air Force's Ranch Hand Study)
THE STATUS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES RESEARCH EFFORTS
REGARDING THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO AGENT ORANGE
AND OTHER HERBICIDES USED DURING THE VIETNAM WAR
#4 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*
Posted 26 November 2003 - 04:58 AM
Vietnam war veteran Wayne Chester shows a photo of his daughter Rachael.
Picture / Paul Estcourt
Angry tears as MPs hear of Agent Orange's awful legacy
By MARTIN JOHNSTON
In Wayne Chester's mind, the sickly stink of diesel is forever connected to the destroyed jungles of Vietnam.
"I'll never forget the smell," the former soldier said yesterday after giving evidence on Agent Orange.
He told Parliament's health select committee he believed the toxic herbicide that showered him from aircraft while he fought the Vietnam War in 1968-69 had caused him and two of his three children numerous health problems.
The committee is investigating evidence that New Zealand military were exposed to defoliants, the risks for them and their families, and if they need further health services.
War veteran Bill McCoid, of Whangarei, said it was impossible to avoid the residue of dioxin-contaminated chemicals.
"It was everywhere. On the ground where we slept, on the vegetation - or what was standing - and even in the water we had to drink.
"I saw our own men spraying around our tent lines in Nui Dat base camp and the water which was delivered to us by tanker was drawn from a water point just outside the wire where spraying frequently occurred."
Mr McCoid now has skin cancers and an extensive skin rash.
Mr Chester, a 58-year-old company director from Helensville, listed the devastating effects on his family of what superiors in Vietnam had told him was "anti-malarial spray".
His 28-year-old daughter Rachael was born with a growth in her throat, was hyperactive, had cancer and suffers from migraines, a skin disorder, chemical reactions and agoraphobia, which caused panic attacks, kept her at home and prevented her from communicating with other people.
Fionna, Mr Chester's 30-year-old daughter, had a heart murmur, bowel and bladder dysfunction and endometriosis, a painful condition linked to the uterus. She suffered migraines from birth and a burst blood vessel in the brain when a teenager. She was now partially paralysed, could not use her left arm or hand, nor walk properly.
Mr Chester said his own legacy included diabetes, depression, liver disease ("I don't drink") and skin disorders.
Quizzed by MPs, he said that of 20 former Vietnam comrades he had spoken to at a reunion, five or six reported problems in their children.
He recalled US military promotion of Agent Orange as safe, but said that if he knew then how dangerous it was, "I would have mutinied".
Marrakech Jennings-Lowry, 20, the daughter of a veteran, wept as she told the committee of how the chemicals had ruined her life.
At least five of her organs were affected. She had had a hysterectomy, because of endometriosis, and needed a heart and lung transplant, which she said would have to be done overseas.
She was unable to work or study.
She said her husband earned $100 too much for her to receive financial help from Veterans' Affairs, yet she had to spend $300 a week on drugs and transport to medical visits.
"I'm sick of this. I want compensation," said Mrs Jennings-Lowry, who is preparing a law suit against the Government.
The Government pays for counselling and out-of-pocket medical bills of veterans' children, but it is restricted to certain conditions.
Witnesses canvassed by committee chairwoman Steve Chadwick about setting up a register of veterans and their families and the need for a Government apology indicated support for both.
Many were angry at Government-commissioned reports, one of which found no conclusive link between veterans' military service and their children's ill health; the other declaring there was no aerial spraying in Phuoc Tuy province where most New Zealanders were based.
Opposition MPs forced the inquiry's formation after a retired Army officer produced a map issued to him when serving there that showed the area was sprayed. In June, the Government admitted there had been spraying in Phuoc Tuy.
The wife of a veteran, Elizabeth Lancaster, the mother of two intellectually and physically impaired children, alleged that the Government-commissioned reports were attempts at a cover-up.
Vietnam Veterans Association president John Moller said one, the McLeod Review, was superficial and erroneous. The other, from an inquiry headed by former Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves, "was based in part on information which was biased, discredited and in some cases fraudulent". The hearing continues in Wellington today.
* In the Vietnam War the US sprayed herbicides on jungle to deprive its enemies of cover.
* Agent Orange was the main defoliant, sprayed from planes and on the ground.
* It was a mix of the toxic dioxin-containing weedkillers 2,4,5, T and 2,4, D plus kerosene or diesel.
* Parliament's health committee is hearing from sprayed war veterans and their wives and children.
* Veterans say many of them are ill from the chemicals and their children suffer deformities and diseases.
* They are seeking further acknowledgement that New Zealanders were sprayed, and an apology.
* Some want compensation and a survey of veterans and their families.
Posted 26 November 2003 - 08:43 AM
By KEVIN TAYLOR
Vietnam veterans will front up to a parliamentary select committee this week as it examines evidence that New Zealand defence personnel were exposed to Agent Orange and other defoliants during the Vietnam War.
The health committee will hear submissions in Auckland today and Wellington tomorrow.
The inquiry will examine evidence that New Zealand soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange and other defoliants during the war.
The committee will also evaluate a report by Deborah McLeod of Otago University's Wellington School of Medicine and a report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee inquiry into the health status of children of veterans.
Christchurch man and former commander of 161 Battery, John Masters, who will make a submission to the committee, said veterans were not looking for special treatment or compensation.
They wanted an acceptance by the Government that the two reports are flawed and that the disabilities New Zealand veterans faced were from Agent Orange and similar to those being experienced by Australian and US Vietnam veterans.
Committee chairwoman Steve Chadwick said the Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs would give evidence next month, and the inquiry report should be ready early next year.
#6 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*
Posted 27 November 2003 - 09:52 AM
VETERANS' DAY: Former Vietnam War commander John Masters at the parliamentary inquiry yesterday.
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Dominion Post
'One in six' Vietnam vets dead
27 November 2003
By HANK SCHOUTEN
Nearly one in six of the 3368 New Zealand servicemen and women who served in Vietnam have died and the average age at death was 51 years and nine months, a retired Vietnam War battery commander says.
For Maori who served in Vietnam as many as one third of them were now dead, according to the commander, John Masters.
He gave the figures in evidence yesterday to a parliamentary inquiry into the health effects of exposure in Vietnam to the defoliant Agent Orange, containing dioxin.
Mr Masters said 512 people who served in Vietnam had died.
Of the 814 troops in his battery, 134, or 16.5 per cent, had died. Of 168 identified as Maori, 54 were dead.
Mr Masters pleaded for the committee to throw out previous government reports that said New Zealand troops had served in areas that were not sprayed and there was no clear link between exposure and subsequent ill-health to veterans and their children.
This year Mr Masters produced a map he brought back from Vietnam to prove servicemen had been exposed to defoliants. There was growing frustration and anger among Vietnam veterans at attempts to deny they were exposed, he said.
Veterans needed to know they would be treated the same as Australian and US counterparts.
New Zealand servicemen and woman in Vietnam fought alongside Australians, ate the same food, drank the same water and were dying at the same horrific rate. Their children were suffering the same disabilities and experiencing the same dislocated lives and dysfunctional relationships.
While the Government could not make them well it needed to do everything it could to meet their needs.
Gavin Nicol, of Opotiki, spoke of the guilt that he and many other veterans felt at passing on damaged genes to their children. Mr Nicol, a private who served at Nui Dat, described how he and others were issued with leaky backpack sprayers to clear areas around their base. The gloves they were issued were useless as were their light raincoats.
They were covered in spray. The two corporals in charge of spraying had since died of cancer. He suffered a bad skin condition, his daughter was born with one functioning kidney and spina bifida, another child was miscarried and his skin condition had been passed on to his son. He said many veterans felt betrayed by their officers and the RSA, which had not been prepared for many years to believe their claims of suffering.
"Our veterans don't know where they are and some don't have the guts to put their hands up to say their families are suffering.
"Our dead are too high and our sick veterans are too angry. We will never be lied to again."
#7 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*
Posted 27 November 2003 - 10:43 AM
Nov 26 2003
Veterans of Vietnam are calling for a rewrite of the official story of New Zealand's involvement in the controversial war.
They have told a Parliamentary committee that records saying New Zealand soldiers weren't exposed to Agent Orange are wrong and they have proof.
The commander of 161 battery, Colonel John Masters, knows his troops were sprayed with Agent Orange - the US army map he brought back to prove it sparked a select committee inquiry.
He is now battling two official reports suggesting Kiwi troops were never exposed to the chemical.
"We were sprayed as regularly and as often as any troops in the Vietnam war."
He says the fight is not about money - but more about setting the record straight.
"The New Zealand government doesn't need to do anything else except scrap these offending and offensive reports which contribute to those veterans' angst and to their dismay."
There was also anger from National's Associate Health spokesperson Judith Collins.
"These reports have been based on incorrect information and have completely ignored the views and the experiences of the veterans."
But Deborah McLeod of the Wellington School of Medicine, author of the latest report which reviewed overseas studies, says that wasn't her job.
"We made no claims or didn't make any attempts to assess levels of exposure of New Zealand veterans. We only had information that was provided to us, so we weren't in a position to make any comment on that."
But the Vietnam vets have found a powerful ally - Helen Clark has distanced her government from the disputed reports.
"They're not part of government policy. They were the best that was available at the time. The government of course went further than the recommendations at the time because we knew that veterans had been saying for years they believed they were exposed."
The government will have to officially respond to the committee's findings early next year.
#8 Guest_Gone Walkabout_*
Posted 27 November 2003 - 02:18 PM
By KEVIN TAYLOR, Political Reporter
A former Army officer who served two tours in Vietnam claims the authors of a Government-commissioned report into the health of Vietnam veterans' children may have lied.
John Masters, a retired lieutenant-colonel, told a parliamentary inquiry into Agent Orange yesterday that a report by Deborah McLeod of Otago University's Wellington School of Medicine was "offensive" and that the Government should reject it.
Co-authored by Donna Cormack and Tai Kake and released last November, the report concluded there was no evidence exposure to chemicals in Vietnam had affected the health of veterans' children.
The report also said the information it had was that Anzac forces generally served in the Vietnamese province of Phuoc Tuy, where no aerial defoliant spraying occurred.
The conclusions angered veterans so much that Dr McLeod said yesterday that she would never do such a study again after getting offensive letters from veterans and being sent dead soldiers' obituaries.
Mr Masters, commander of 161 Artillery Battery in 1968 and 1970-71, sparked the health select committee inquiry after finding an old war map showing spray zones in the region where New Zealanders served.
The committee has heard evidence this week from veterans about the health effects on themselves and their children.
Mr Masters told the committee the McLeod report had used discredited and incorrect research and contained no original research.
"Deborah McLeod's work shows that she must have been aware of that. I ask how many lies must be told before one is a liar?" he said.
The findings were based on factual errors, misrepresentation of other studies and failure to disclose important information.
"This may be explained as lazy or incompetent research," Mr Masters said. "An alternative explanation however, is that the authors of the McLeod report deliberately set out to deceive and mislead the New Zealand Government, as well as Vietnam veterans and their families."
But Dr McLeod said the report was a review of existing academic literature, mainly Australian and American, on the health outcomes on children of Vietnam and nuclear-testing veterans. She stood by it.
The aim of the report had not been to look at whether veterans were sprayed, she said.
"Whether or not New Zealand troops were exposed was reasonably irrelevant to us. We never had access to the sort of information that would be required to do that."
As well as wanting the McLeod report rejected, Mr Masters said the Government should also reject an earlier National Government-commissioned report of a ministerial advisory committee headed by Sir Paul Reeves in 1999.
National MP and committee member Judith Collins called on Prime Minister Helen Clark to immediately reject both reports and apologise for them.
Mr Masters told the committee discarding both the McLeod and Reeves reports would take the heat out of the issue immediately.
Kiwi soldiers were sprayed as regularly as any troops in Vietnam.
"New Zealand servicemen and women fought alongside their Australian comrades. We went where they went, we ate what they ate, we drank what they drank, and today we are both dying at the same horrific rate."
Dr McLeod said she would not do such research again.
"There's absolutely no way I'd be involved in anything like this again and I don't think there are any academics in New Zealand who would touch it ... now - which means the ability to get good informed information on the topic is going downhill fast."
The inquiry's report will not be finished until April or May.
* Death rates Of the 3368 servicemen and women who served in Vietnam, 511 or 15 per cent, are known to have died.
* Of the 814 members of 161 Battery, a Kiwi artillery unit, 134 or 16.5 per cent, are known to have died. The average lifespan of the dead was 51 years and 9 months.
The McLeod report
* "The information available to the authors was that Anzac forces generally served in Phuoc Tuy province where there was no serial spraying."
* " ... given the small increased risk found in studies of very exposed populations, the conclusion reached by this appraisal of the literature is that there is no evidence that exposure to chemicals in Vietnam has affected the health of the children of New Zealand."
* Former Army officer John Masters: "I ask how many lies must be told before one is a liar?"
Posted 28 November 2003 - 12:56 AM
New Zealand soldiers serving in the Vietnam War put their hands over billies of boiling water to avoid an oily slick left from spraying of a defoliant they were never told could have been Agent Orange, a Vietnam veteran said today.
Ron Turner, who served with 161 Battery in Vietnam in 1968-69, told a committee of MPs in Wellington today that the greatest problem for him was the stress of not knowing what he and his other friends from the war had been sprayed with.
Parliament's health select committee is carrying out an inquiry into the health effects of Agent Orange, after years of denials by governments that use of the spray caused any problems for the soldiers who served there.
Mr Turner said today that he and the other New Zealand soldiers were "young, fit and keen" to serve their country when they went to war.
Mr Turner, who was a second lieutenant in the army, said that when he left for the Vietnam war at age 22, "things like Agent Orange weren't in my vocabulary".
He recalled a day in Vietnam seeing two Hercules flying low spraying "something".
The soldiers thought very little of it at the time but if they had they would have considered it safe because "our Government and other governments were allowing it to happen to us," he said.
"We used to put ... our hand over the top of our billy ... because it left .. a little bit of an oily, kind of colourful screen on the top of the drink we were having," he said.
Mr Turner said fellow veterans in their 50s had died unexpectedly.
His problems were not as bad as others, although he suffered hearing loss from the noise of artillery.
He had been diagnosed with diabetes ,which some said could be caused by exposure to Agent Orange, and his eyesight was impaired.
"My eyes feel kind of a bit gritty all the time and once again people say ... this could be the result of Agent Orange."
He also got skin rashes, which some said could be from Agent Orange or shaving badly.
The greatest impact that Agent Orange had on him was the "stress" of "not knowing" what he was sprayed with and what effect that could have.
"We came home quite oblivious to any impact of Agent Orange and all of a sudden it started to hit the news and people started to suggest that nasty things can be the result and I think that's maybe the thing that worries me the most."
"The fittest and the strongest and the most capable" had gone to Vietnam, not those who had health problems.
He had gone into areas of jungle stripped of foliage.
"We used to say 'it's been sprayed"' but never asked what spray was used, Mr Turner said.
John Robinson, 53 Company, 4RAR Anzac Battalion 1968-69, told the committee he knew he had been sprayed and "contaminated" with Agent Orange.
"I definitely know it was done because I had it sprayed over my body more than once.
"Not only that, when I was on secondment to the Australian air force I witnessed it actually being loaded by the Australian ground crew into the baby Hercules C123."
The soldiers were sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals.
"I saw the jungle literally die in front of me. I drunk the damn stuff from the water and I do know that it was done," he said.
The soldiers were told by their commanding officers that the spraying was to get rid of mosquitos.
Mr Robinson said he had physical and mental health problems which he believed were attributed to Agent Orange.
"My skin feels as if there is a series of insects and ants crawling underneath it all the time. It just rolls, feelings of waves going over my skin and it's bloody painful. Thirty-odd years I've put up with this."
He had been forced out of work as a diesel engineer because of his irrational behaviour and his inability to make decisions.
Mr Robinson told the committee he feared for his children.
His boys seemed to be "all right", although they had not yet had children, but his daughter suffered health problems and had had three miscarriages, two of which "almost killed her".
His youngest son tried to forget "that I ever went there".
He felt ashamed that he had brought children into the world, placing "this sort of horrific burden on them" and he was ashamed that the powers who sent him to Vietnam did not believe the veterans.
Mr Robinson said he was heavily in debt as a result of his medical bills and should get compensation.
The effects of Agent Orange had been covered up by governments to avoid paying out compensation, he said.
"It really did happen, people."
Posted 04 December 2003 - 10:25 PM
Areas of black fill or hatched fill on the image correspond to areas residents suspect are contaminated
Agent Orange: "We've buried it under New Plymouth"
A former top official at New Plymouth's lvon Watkins Dow chemical factory has confirmed the worst fears of residents - part of the town may be sitting on a secret toxic waste dump containing the deadly Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange.
The official, who has proven his identity and executive ranking in documents provided to Investigate, says the company owned a large piece of land 'very close to the chemical plant, which we called 'the Experimental Farm'. We bulldozed big pits and dumped thousands of tonnes of chemicals there."
And what did the chemical cocktail include?
'There have been rumours circulating for some time, never proven, that IWD was supplying the defoliant Agent Orange to be used in the Vietnam War. The allegation is true. I was on the management committee of Ivon Watkins Dow, and I supported the plan to export Agent Orange. In fact, it went ahead on my casting vote.
'People who'd served in the armed forces made a strong case for the need to defoliate the jungle, because of the risk to servicemen from ambush or sniper fire from the undergrowth.
"So we began manufacturing this Agent Orange, but it didn't meet the international specifications and probably had an excess of 'nastes' in it. The problem was, we didn't consider the product was harmful to humans at the time.
"Our scientists relied on assurances and technical data provided to them by Dow Chemicals in the USA. We were led to believe it was safe. The whole reason I supported Agent Orange is because we thought we were giving our boys on the ground a hand.
"To avoid detection, we shipped the Agent Orange to South America - Mexico if I recall correctly - and it was onshipped to its final destination from there."
The former IWD boss' confessions will come as a bombshell - not just to the company which for more than 30 years has managed to avoid admitting to it, but also to the credibility of the last Labour Government, which arranged a Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry in 1990 into the matter.
That lnquiry's findings were that "No conclusive facts or evidence were provided to the Committee to substantiate the claim that IWD manufactured the formation of Agent Orange in New Zealand during the Vietnam War."
At the time, the Select Committee's terms of reference were attacked as being too narrow, and the Labour dominated committee did not call any former executives of Ivon Watkins Dow to give evidence. It is now easy to see why.
'Agent Orange was made from two chemicals," our source explained in an exclusive interview, "2,4-D and 2,4,5,T. When they're apart, they're herbicides. Mixed together, they become Agent Orange. Now at this time, in the late 1960s and early seventies, the Government had given IWD the exclusive licence to manufacture those chemicals. We made all of the 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T that was produced in New Zealand. No one else was allowed to. Technically, we shipped the chemicals unmixed, so technically they weren't Agent Orange until somebody mixed them at the final destination."
IWD's role in manufacturing the deadly herbicide resulted from a US approach to the New Zealand Government, and the Defence Ministry had sounded out whether IWD could provide 500,000 gallons of it, quickly. Although news of the plan later leaked out, the National Government tried to distance itself and the impression was left that the Agent Orange deal never went ahead.
Given that official US reports record that around 9 million gallons of Agent Orange were dumped on Vietnam, the size of the NZ contract was reasonably substantial.
The official's evidence is likely to open the way for New Zealand Vietnam Veterans to sue both Dow Agrosciences, which now operates the IWD plant, and the New Zealand Government for compensation. Vietnam veterans and their families have, in many cases, suffered major health problems and birth defects as a result of alleged exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, but up until now there's been no proof that IWD was definitely involved.
The revelations get worse, however. The official says leftover Agent Orange chemicals, complete with 'excess nasties" were re-worked into the 2,4,5-T herbicide for use on farms within New Zealand, and surplus chemicals were dumped at the Experimental Farm, which is now believed to lie underneath the New Plymouth suburb of Paritutu.
Which may explain why the suburb has the highest levels of the deadly chemical dioxin - an ingredient of Agent Orange - ever recorded in a New Zealand urban area, according to a Ministry for the Environment report in 1998. If the official's testimony is correct, it is highly likely that leachate from 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T dumped in the ground would eventually mix - assuming they hadn't been tossed in to the same pit together already - creating a lethal Agent Orange mix under the soil.
"I remember at one meeting,' says the former IWD top executive, 'that there was some real concern expressed about the chemical dump. 'If it leaches down onto the beach, we're going to be in real trouble'," one IWD scientist had warned. The dumping operation was described by our source as "surreptitious".
And if any further proof were needed that surplus Agent Orange had been dumped at New Plymouth, local residents found a drum of the chemical on the beach near Waireka Stream.
But a local newspaper report in the mid-seventies sheds more light on the situation:
"Drums of chemical waste buried under lvon Watkins Dow Ltd's proposed housing subdivision are not considered a hazard by its management," the Taranaki Herald newspaper begins.
"The Managing Director, Mr R M Bellen, confirmed that drums of waste had been buried in the land, but said none of the material was dioxin and all was expected to degrade in the ground without any harmful effects.
"They were also buried in a remote part of the proposed subdivision where they would not cause problems to development.
'The existence of the drums was brought to the public's attention by a letter to the editor of the Herald, signed by 'Concerned'. He said large quantities of drums containing chemicals were buried in trenches over a period of years. Five years ago [I 972] one of the Taranaki newspapers ran a picture of the work in progress.
"By now the soil will be contaminated and the fitting of underground services will further spread the chemicals,' he said. 'Dioxin and other unwanted chemicals are now destroyed in an incinerator. About 12 years ago IWD dumped drums of chemicals in the city dump. The chemical seeped into the Mangaetuku Stream and the city council spent days collecting the dead eels and burying them'.' The chemicals being dumped in 1972, after the US decided to stop using Agent Orange in Vietnam, were highly likely to have been Agent Orange or its ingredients. Having boosted production to meet the US orders, IWD was left with tens of thousands of gallons of the deadly poison.
And there's documentary evidence to support the claims by the former IWD boss that Agent Orange, complete with some of the most lethal toxins known to man, was reworked into ordinary farm herbicides for use within New Zealand.
A 1987 Ministry of Agriculture report notes the use of a "scrub dessicant" on our farms, made up in equal measure by combining 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. In other words: Agent Orange.
Our executive source's wife also recalls the 'hush hush" nature of the Agent Orange programme: "My husband came home one night when all the fuss was going on about Agent Orange, and I remember him saying to me 'We must never breathe a word of this to anyone. No one must ever find out'."
Time, and a realisation that the chemical was more deadly than he or his colleagues at IWD realised, have changed his opinion. "It is time for the truth to emerge. Something needs to be done," he says.
Investigate approached Health Minister Annette King who has so far proved reluctant to dig into the matter, and asked if she would be prepared to consider granting the former official immunity if he testified at a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the matter. So far, the Minister has failed to respond.
At stake for the government could be massive compensation payments: these are the same herbicides used on most farms throughout New Zealand, chemicals which may explain a sudden explosion in birth defects and chronic illnesses in children and adults from the 1960s onward. The cost in health bills to the country over the past 30 years may far exceed what the Government spends on tobacco related illnesses or car crashes, which may also explain the expensive TV advertising campaigns - a distraction from the bigger issue.
The former IWD boss says he and his colleagues all had shareholdings in the company, something he believes was an effective means of buying silence and loyalty.
Among the documents provided by the official is a copy of IWD's 1967 Annual Report, which discloses that the company purchased 400 acres of land to use for experimenting with herbicides and pesticides. This included a 300 acre dairy farm stretching south from the main chemical factory, a 90 acre "research farm" at Waireka Stream, and a 12 acre research farm at Junction Rd in New Plymouth. This was in addition to the 29 acres that the factory originally sat on in Paritutu.
'Possession of the new research station," wrote IWD Managing Director Dan Watkins in his report to shareholders in 1967, "and the developed area at Junction Rd, as well as the 300 acre Beach Road Dairy Farm helps materially in keeping us close to all types of farming and to all means of production from the soil. Thus we are able to evaluate critically new methods of pasture and crop protection with insecticides and weed control with herbicides, as well as means of raising production by the use of fertilisers."
But while Prime Minister Helen Clark's colonial government continues to duck for cover, it's been revealed dying Vietnam War veterans are threatening to "do a Timothy McVeigh' - a reference to the American anti-government protestor allegedly responsible for blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City several years ago.
Vietnam Veterans Association chief, John Moller, says passions are running so high that he and his colleagues have had to work "damned hard" recently to persuade dying veterans whose children have also been affected by dioxin-related deformities, "not to take the law into their own hands. These guys have had enough. They're being cheated and lied to by the politicians and the bureaucrats.'
US health authorities have recently added diabetes to the list of diseases caused by dioxin, and Moller points out that the massive rate of diabetes in the Maori community may be a direct result of exposure to the 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T herbicides.
"Go back two or three decades and a lot of Maori people were working outside, as farmhands, labourers, railway workers, soldiers, forestry workers - all of them in areas where they came into contact with chemicals containing dioxin."
And the point about dioxin is that it doesn't just affect the person originally exposed, it affects their children through several generations as well. There is evidence, still being collated by Investigate, of politicians having financial links to chemical manufacturers in the past, which may also be a factor in why successive governments have either been reluctant to investigate, or they've set up dodgy, "Yes Minister" type inquiries designed to prolong the cover-up.
Meanwhile, environmental campaigner and Paritutu resident Andrew Gibbs, whose investigations brought the disaster to light, is researching the involvement of Broadbank Corporation as the developer of Paritutu subdivision, and whether it knew or should have known it was building houses on a toxic dump. Broadbank was managed at the time by Don Brash, the man who is now Governor of the Reserve Bank.
Original Story w/pictures: http://www.investigatemagazine.com/pdf'...jan2.pdf#Page=1
the international news magazine - Jan/Feb 2001
Sampling of suspected dioxin sites complete
26 JULY 2001
The sampling of 31 suspected dioxin dump sites in and around New Plymouth is complete, with the results due in early September.
Taranaki Regional Council inspectorate manager Brian Calkin said yesterday he was pleased the sampling had finished and believed the council had worked well with members of the Dioxin Investigation Network who attended each day of sampling.
Taranaki dioxin campaigners allege Paritutu-based chemical plant Ivon Watkins-Dow, now Dow Agrosciences, historically dumped and discharged dioxin-laced waste in various sites throughout New Plymouth.
To establish whether the allegations were correct, the TRC conducted several months of investigations at the sites, including using ground-penetrating radar and gathering samples from surface soil, leachate, ground water, surface water and sediments to test for a range of contaminants.
Many Paritutu residents believe their health problems are related to being neighbours of Dow, which manufactured the controversial herbicide 2,4,5-T from the early 1960s until 1987. Dioxin is a byproduct of 2,4,5-T manufacture.
Posted 04 December 2003 - 10:34 PM
"Members were blown away with what happened". Jessie Gunn apparently said she stood by the Reeves and McLeod Reports ..... that must be like standing on quicksand. Under questioning she stated she did access the MoD files which detailed the extent of the exposure in Phouc Tuy (2,000,000+ liters) and passed that info to both Reeves and McLeod. That directly contradicts the evidence of Margaret Faulkner (member of the Reeves Inquiry) to the Inquiry and McLeod herself (in the e-mail that fell of the back of the truck ... thanks Alan Stuart). This contradiction (some uncharitable people might say lies) raises serious public policy concerns and I now understand that Sir Paul Reeves will now be called before the Inquiry to give his version of events. Am further told the map on map on map presentation by Ray Seymour (representing MoD) had people gasping.
The evidence from Dr Colin Feek (Health Department) was seen as weak and unbelievable in light of what has now transpired (weak feek!! - pun intended). The media have really focused in on the huge contradictions. Expect more coverage. regards, rsm
Posted 04 December 2003 - 10:39 PM
Thursday, 4 December 2003, 1:42 pm
Press Release: New Zealand National Party
MP for Clevedon
4 December 2003
Vietnam Vets Vindicated
A report presented to the Parliamentary Health Select Committee inquiry into Agent Orange has shown previous reports to be completely inaccurate, says National MP, Judith Collins.
The report, presented to the committee by the deputy chief of the Army, Brigadier Rick Ottaway, and retired Colonel Ray Seymour, shows that the soldiers probably came into contact with areas sprayed with defoliants 356 times.
More than 1.8 millions litres of Agents Orange, White and Blue were sprayed in Phouc Tuy province, where a majority of New Zealand troops served, between November 1965 and June 1968, the report says.
Ms Collins says the evidence is irrefutable and it is time the Government condemned the Macleod and Reeves reports once and for all.
"The Ministries of Veterans' Affairs and Health should admit they were wrong in accepting these clearly inadequate reports. And yet they continue to back them, though there is now clear evidence to the contrary."
The Macleod report concluded that no serial spraying took place in Phouc Tuy province, an assertion that has long been contested by veterans.
"Now there is evidence compiled from information held by the Defence Force to prove they did come into contact with Agent Orange. It's just a shame it took 30 years to finally prove it."
Posted 07 December 2003 - 09:23 PM
by dk 9:59am Thu Nov 27 '03
Act on Citizens Warrants before they become illegal, and knee jerk governments outlaw lwas that threaten order quickly.
Number of downloads: 2
Posted 14 February 2004 - 01:24 PM
14 February 2004
A Prime Ministerial inquiry into Agent Orange was a "rush job" aimed at "producing a rabbit out of the hat for Anzac Day", an insider has told Vietnam veterans.
The allegation was made by former senior public servant Margaret Faulkner, who investigated the health of children of New Zealand war veterans in a National Government inquiry headed by former Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves.
The 1999 Reeves report failed to find any conclusive links between exposure by veterans to defoliants or nuclear radiation and health problems in their children.
However Ms Faulkner, who was the Social Welfare Department war pensions manager at the time, has now criticised the inquiry, set up by then Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.
In an e-mail to a Vietnam veteran she said "It was another of those Government 'rush jobs' in order to produce a rabbit out of the hat for Anzac Day."
Ms Faulkner said that she was cynical about the process all governments used for such events.
She was "blown away" when told the four departments involved in the research had to fund it from within existing budgets.
"It became very clear at that stage that nothing I had hoped for (new research, wide consultation etc) was going to happen."
In particular, it became clear that the children of veterans were not going to be covered by the provisions of the War Pensions Act.
"It will always be my view that the health of the children of veterans cannot be separated from the health of their fathers and this will be more and more important as the years go by for Vietnam veterans and many current veterans," she wrote.
John Moller, the Vietnam Veterans' Association president who received the e-mail, was appalled that members and their children were being used for the then Government's political expediency.
"Indeed, such a cynical political manipulation in our opinion strikes at the very heart of democratic and just process," he said.
It galled that while the current Government found $5 million to settle historical injustices with the Chinese community, its predecessor did not fund the Reeves inquiry in a manner which would have brought some closure to war veterans, he said.
Mr Moller is urging a parliamentary select committee looking at the Agent Orange issue to investigate Ms Faulkner's allegations.
Contacted yesterday Ms Faulkner, now deputy chairwoman of the Capital and Coast District Health Board, was surprised the contents of her e-mail had made it into the political arena. However she stood by her comments but would not add further until the select committee had finished its process.
When the Reeves report was released, Vietnam vets said the inquiry had been doomed to fail before it got off the ground.
Don Donaldson, an artilleryman in Vietnam, said at the time: "There was simply nobody on that board of inquiry who had the interests of the veterans and their families at heart."
Posted 04 March 2004 - 11:44 AM
Thursday, 4 March 2004, 12:16 pm
Press Release: New Zealand First Party
Australia Takes Care Of Its Veterans
New Zealand First is calling on the Government to take its lead from the Australian Government in its treatment of war veterans.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has approved an extra $267 million benefit for veterans.
“We are not asking the Government to come up to par with Australia, but to reassess its efforts in taking care of our war veterans,” said veterans affairs spokesperson Bill Gudgeon.
Permanently incapacitated veteran’s pensions in Australia will rise in line with the average weekly male earnings, or inflation, whichever is highest. Ex-gratia payments will be made to prisoners of war in the Korean conflict and airmen who served on the Malay-Thai border.
“New Zealand personnel served under the same conditions and in the same conflicts as our Australian counterparts yet the New Zealand Government’s treatment of its vets is so far away from that of Australia’s,” said Mr Gudgeon.
“New Zealand First is asking the Government to support our war veterans in their struggle for better living conditions and acknowledge the hardships they suffered in the name of New Zealand,” concluded Mr Gudgeon.
Posted 31 March 2004 - 12:40 PM
written by Rod Hinchco - 30 March, 2004
The following is a press release received this morning:
PRESS RELEASE AGENT ORANGE
A HISTORY OF DECEPTION.
30 March 04.
AUSTRALIAN EXPERT SLAM /DUNKS NEW ZEALAND RESEARCH INTO
AGENT ORANGE AND EFFECTS ON NEW ZEALAND TROOPS AND FAMILIES.
Dr. Lachlan Irvine from Canberra University in his evidence to the New Zealand Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiring into the effects of Agent Orange on New Zealand troops and their families has demolished the official and academic line adopted by the New Zealand Government when he appeared before the Committee last Wednesday 24th March 2004.
It is the opinion of the Vietnam Veterans’ Association of New Zealand that the State and it’s agencies historically manipulated evidence, concealed material fact to the detriment of Veterans and their families as well as fabricating evidence in order to meet a pre-determined and government sanctioned official line.
The President of the Vietnam Veterans’ Association of New Zealand says, “This behavior on the part of senior public servants, the Defense Department and indeed members of Parliament is both reprehensible and totally unacceptable within our society.” “ Such gross and long term neglect which has cost lives has to be met with the most vigorous of NZ Police investigation which has to be instigated by the Prime Minister’s Office.”
“It is simply not good enough that senior members of the body politic attempt to hide behind the skirts of historical events when both the former National and Labor Governments are heavily implicated in the long term cover up “ “.That the body academic, including the Health Department participated in the charade is criminal and some accountability must accrue.”
“We call on the Prime Minister of New Zealand to direct the Minister of Police to demand criminal investigation into this matter.” “Whilst the Hon. George Hawkins is also the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs he has no excuse in not addressing the very serious allegations contained within the body of Dr. Irvine’s submission.”
John A. Moller, QSM.
President Vietnam Veterans’ Association of New Zealand,
Posted 01 April 2004 - 05:48 PM
Facts YOU should know about 1080 poison
Aerial application of 1080 poison is banned in the U.S. due
to "the extreme hazard to human health and to the environment."
(From the United States Environmental Protection Agency.)
There is NO ANTIDOTE for 1080 poison.
Classified as a "super toxic" poison, it takes 1/500 of an ounce to kill a
68kg man. According to the U.S. EPA, there is insufficient data on the
effects of low residual doses of 1080 on human health.
After an aerial drop, there is no control over 1080 poison. Minute
quantities can be wind-blown or washed downhill. Un-degraded sodium
fluoroacetate (1080) is considered mobile & may move downward into the soil
& ground water. Therefore, it can get into tank water, streams and water
A 1080 pellet can last for up to six months in cool dry conditions.
A poisoned possum can travel 5 kilometres or more before it dies.
A possum carcass can take six months or more to decompose, depending on
where it dies and weather conditions.
1080 poison kills an unacceptable number of non-target species, including
dogs, cats, deer, pigs, birds, hedgehogs, bees and other insects.
1080 poison does not break down in the body therefore is a high risk of
direct or secondary poisoning to non-target creatures.
1080 kills insects. Sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) was patented as an
insecticide in Great Britain in 1927, proving an effective contact &
However, it was considered too dangerous to use.
Also, a New Zealand report for Landcare NZ (Meads June '94) recommended
further investigation of 1080 impact on invertebrate insect populations was
1080 is highly toxic to ALL avian species. U.S. research has proven that
this lethal poison is capable of wiping out entire species,
ie. Environment Canada and Canadian Wildlife Service states in their
National Recovery Programme for Burrowing Owls that "a study by Butts (1973)
suggested that the presence of 1080 (sodium fluoracetate) laced grain may
have contributed to a 71% reduction in the breeding population of a colony
of Burrowing Owls between two consecutive years." What about our morepork?
What about our kiwi?
1080 poisoning - some physical effects on mammals:
Cardiac irregularities/cardiac arrest, Anxiety, Atrophy of the brain,
Respiratory problems, Central nervous system disturbances,
Excitation/depression, Nausea & vomiting, Convulsions, Citrate accumulation
in tissues, Organ congestion, Chronic fatigue syndrome.
Note: People have suffered from several of these conditions after aerial
YOU have a choice on YOUR land. Please ask for the alternatives.
Say "NO!" to 1080 poison.
What are the Alternatives?
Trapping or shooting are the ideal (quick & clean) methods. Bringing back
the bounty on these pests would help to create employment, get teenagers
away from their TVs and computers, and out in the open air. It would also
put money back into the community. Possum fur is unique; it's lightweight
and warmer then wool. Several companies are producing and exporting possum
products. New Zealand could use this valuable commodity to its advantage
instead of leaving it to rot under a blanket of poison.
Ferratox has proven to be the most effective alternative poison. In has been
used in several operations, ie. the Wairarapa's Tauherinikau Valley, the
Weka Trust used Ferratox and trapping instead of the proposed aerial 1080 in
order to save the resident Weka population from being wiped out. It is
encapsulated cyanide used in bait stations, which kills possums extremely
quickly and with virtually no risk to non-target species.
Alternative methods have proven to be as, if not more, effective against the
possum population in other rural/residential areas of New Zealand where the
cheap but indiscriminate use of aerial 1080 poison poses too great a risk.
Compound 1080 poison is also an ideal terrorist weapon. It is tasteless,
colourless and odourless.
Symptoms of poisoning remain unnoticed until it has been ingested. By then
it is too late. There is also no cure for 1080 poisoning. Sub-lethal doses
of 1080 can have a serious effect on health for many years afterwards. As a
fluoride compound, it is a suspected endocrine disrupter. It has also been
proven to be a male reproductive toxin and is classified as such by the US
In his paper on 1080, toxicologist Sean Weaver states "it is clear that for
acute toxicity there is ample empirical evidence of adverse health effects
with a high degree of scientific consensus.
Also, "there is a need to fill the gaps in our current knowledge where
possible and take appropriate regulatory action during an interim period in
order to appropriately deal with the uncertainty associated with chronic
toxicity" (of 1080 poison.)
In regards to game caught in areas adjacent to poisoning operations, he
states, "A mildly poisoned
(i.e. sick) deer would move more slowly than a healthy one and could
conceivably be an easier target for a hunter. Once killed, the rate of 1080
breakdown in tissues is likely to slow down considerably which may allow
1080 levels, high enough to cause endocrine disruption (if so proven), to
remain in the meat."
The aerial application of this lethal poison affects many people, impacting
on their health, their lifestyles and their recreational pursuits.
I maintain that, (with NZ being advertised throughout the world as a "clean
green" nation,) all New Zealanders should have the right to walk on our own
land, and to drink clean pure water with no risk to our health.
Let's create a safe environment all New Zealanders for future generations.
Support the world ban on toxic chemicals.
Kate Winters, 1080 Action Upper Hutt.
Posted 02 April 2004 - 10:39 AM
Friday, 2 April 2004, 9:36 am
Press Release: New Zealand First Party
Agent Orange Issue Getting Darker
New Zealand First veteran affairs spokesperson Bill Gudgeon wants to know how much more evidence the Health select committee needs before it recognises that Vietnam veterans were sprayed with Agent Orange and are victims of an orchestrated cover-up,”.
“The after effects have not only affected veterans but also their families and someone must take responsibility.
“Dr Lachlan Irvine from Canberra University, in his evidence to the New Zealand Parliamentary select committee, has demolished the official and academic line adopted by successive New Zealand governments. Dr Lachlan is here with the support of former Commander of 161 Battery Lt Colonel John Marsters.
“Dr Irvine has raised questions about the McLeod report and also about New Zealand research standards and pointed out that the information had been seriously misrepresented.
“New Zealanders in Vietnam fought alongside American and Australian troops who were exposed to agent orange and this has to be accepted officially once and for all,” said Mr Gudgeon.
Posted 10 September 2004 - 02:57 PM
Friday, 10 September 2004, 11:29 am
Press Release: New Zealand First Party
Compensate Vietnam Veterans Says Nz First
New Zealand First veterans’ affairs spokesperson Bill Gudgeon is urging the Government to pay compensation to Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
Mr Gudgeon’s comments follow confirmation that New Plymouth residents living close to an herbicide plant have high levels of a highly toxic dioxin and have suffered the same symptoms as Vietnam veterans.
“The results have justified the concerns of Paritutu residents, who have long claimed dioxin contamination caused illness and high numbers of birth deformities in the area.
“These findings make it imperative that the Government recognise the impact Agent Orange has had on veterans and their offspring,” Mr Gudgeon said.
“Evidence of the adverse health effects of dioxin contamination is very clear, yet the Government continues to debate whether compensation should be paid to Vietnam veterans.
“If the Government is considering taking legal action against Dow AgroSciences for the harm it has caused New Plymouth residents, it must also commit itself to making sure Vietnam veterans receive the same kind of recognition,” said Mr Gudgeon.
Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:12 PM
Attorney General of New Zealand,
WELLINGTON 1. 8 October 2004.
COMPLAINT IN RESPECT OF A BREACH OF THE GENEVA
PROTOCOL WHICH PROHIBITS THE USE OF CHEMICAL
AGENTS AGAINST PLANTS IN INTERNATIONAL AND
I respectfully require that you as the Attorney General of New Zealand investigate the matter of attempts to supply/supply of defoliating agents from New Zealand circa 1967 by then Members of the New Zealand Parliament being the Late David Thompson, the Late Jack Marshall and the Late Air Vice Marshall C. Turner, (and others), for use in the Vietnam War.
As I understand the Geneva Protocol in respect of this matter, there is no Statute of Limitation in respect of a War Crime and that having been reported to you, by rote of the International Convention, you are obliged to investigate the matter.
Evidence is now held by our former Vietnam Veterans’ Association of New Zealand which plainly indicate that the former Members of Parliament (and others) conspired to supply defoliating chemicals for use in the Vietnam conflict which caused injury to both combatants and civilians alike as well as long term environmental damage in Vietnam.
It is our strong view that this action contravened the Geneva Protocol which New Zealand had ratified at that time prohibiting such use of chemicals in warfare.
It is also our very strong view that the commissioning of a breach by then Members of Parliament is pivotal in the stonewalling, deceit, cover up and long term denial of justice to our Vietnam Veteran community in New Zealand exposed to chemical warfare agents which led to associated ill health amongst the former servicemen and their families.
I bring to your notice the liability which accrues as a result of that breach of the Protocol in respect of New Zealand citizens and those members of the civilian sector within Vietnam.
As a matter of courtesy I am supplying a copy of this official complaint to you, to The Prime Minister, the Minister of Police and our legal advisers both in New Zealand and overseas. I look forward to your early reply.
Major (Rtd) John A. Moller QSM
9 Te Ariki Place,
The Rt.Hon.Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand.
The Hon. George Hawkins, M.P. Minister of Police.
Legal Advisers New Zealand and The United States of America.