Tariana Turia, MP for Te Tai Hauauru, has picked up on the disappointment expressed by the Chemically Exposed Paritutu Residents Association (CEPRA), that the offer of free GP visits was an 'insult', a hollow 'political gesture of little value'.
“The very least we could have expected is an apology from the Government for both its role in supporting the use of 2, 4, 5, -T and the use of subsequent cover-up tactics and policies to conceal the true effects to Paritutu residents” said Mrs Turia.
“CEPRA has sent me documents from the Dow Chemical Company detailing the ‘potential for human suffering’ back in December 1964” said Mrs Turia.
“The documents describe the impact of elevated levels of the dioxin containing chemical 2,4,5-T in the blood being linked to skin problems like psoriasis and eczema, increased rates of death by cancer (up to 10% over the national level) and a range of conditions and diseases including spina bifida in the children of those exposed, prostate cancer and leukemia”.
“Paritutu residents have also suffered from delays and cover-ups that have occurred over generations as successive Governments have minimised the health effects on people living near the DOW plant” said Mrs Turia.
“They have endured being fobbed off with flawed methodologies in the ESR Serum Dioxin Study, anomalies in the data, conflicts of interest and endless delays”.
“We know with the impact of Agent Orange of Vietnam veterans, how significant the Government’s apology was in recognising both the physical and mental illnesses that families suffered, as well as the indignity of the repeated denials of the impact of the contamination” said Mrs Turia.
“Why can’t the Government show that same compassion and respect to the families who lived in Paritutu during the time of exposure ? (1962-1988)” asked Mrs Turia.
“The proposed health support services – as laudable as they are – come almost forty years after the first exposures occurred at Paritutu” said Mrs Turia.
“The Government cannot ignore the fact that the Crown, having subsidised the cost of 2,4,5-T, is partially liable for the harm created by the contamination” said Mrs Turia.
“The Crown has a duty under the 1956 Health Act to protect public health, to monitor exposures and to act on its investigations” said Mrs Turia.
“Instead it appears to be treating these people with callous disregard in failing to acknowledge and accept responsibility; or to seek compensation from Dow.