Agent Orange victims to win compensation tomorrow

The Government will tomorrow announce a wide-ranging compensation package — expected to include financial and health support — for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Last year the Government set up a joint working group to look at a solution to the veterans’ exposure.

Veterans Affairs Minister Rick Barker has held the group’s report since April and a package of compensation measures was first considered by Cabinet almost four months ago.

However the final package has been held up by wrangling between the Government and veterans’ groups over details.

A spokesman for Mr Barker told NZPA in August the package would include financial compensation as well as other forms of support such as health costs for exposed veterans and their families.

Tomorrow’s package, to be announced by Mr Barker and Defence Minister Phil Goff, will also contain a range of more general support measures for Vietnam veterans, who were not exposed to defoliants.

Veterans have said for years their health and that of their children have been damaged by exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants used in the Vietnam War.

Their pleas for help were largely ignored by successive governments, but two years ago a parliamentary select committee found evidence New Zealand soldiers were exposed.

The Government has since apologised for the veterans’ exposure.

Published: 2006, Dec, 06. | Time-stamp: 4:58 PM Wednesday | By: NZPA | Article Link: nzherald.co.nz | Article Title: Agent Orange victims to win compensation tomorrow.

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