The following is part of John Key’s Parliamentary speech in 2008;
They have had to suffer the indignity of two reports- the Reeves report and the McLeod report, both of
which reached conclusions that all veterans knew to be wrong. These reports were factually incorrect,
fatally flawed and deeply offensive to many veterans.
In 2004, Parliament’s Health Select Committee finally acknowledged what long had been denied - that
New Zealand service personnel serving in South Vietnam had been exposed to a ‘toxic environment’
and that toxic environment had had a detrimental effect on the health of those veterans and on the
health of their children.
New Zealand had a responsibility to these people. They were asked by their country to do a dangerous job
and they did so with honour and dignity.
The treatment they received, both in Vietnam and then in the years after their return to New Zealand,
was unfair and unacceptable.
I hope that this apology and the acceptance finally that New Zealanders were exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam,
will go some way to making up for our previous failings.
It would be less than 4 months later that perhaps the first death of a NZ Vietnam Veteran
would be medically attributed to Agent Orange.
Pat Hauwai (Victor Company) died in Manurewa in September 2008.
Romy Udanga, a reporter for the Manukau Courier did an article on Pat, dated Friday October 3rd 2008.
“Quote” No New Zealand doctor had penned “Agent Orange exposure” as the cause of a Vietnam Veteran’s
death-until last week when Sergeant Rakai-Paki “Pat” Hauwai died of cancer.
On his death certificate his doctor attributed the 65 year-old’s death to Agent Orange, among other causes.
It was signed by Dr Desmond Wong of Manukau.
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