6 Jul 2023

Veterans of nuclear tests still waiting for apology and assurances

From Checkpoint, 6:07 pm on 6 July 2023

50 years on, veterans exposed to nuclear tests in French Polynesia are still waiting for an apology from the government and an assurance that subsequent generations of whanau will have their medical costs covered.

A total of 500 crew on the HMNZS Otago, and later the frigate Canterbury, were sent by the Labour government to protest french Nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll.

The Prime Minister at the time Norman Kirk declared it an "honourable mission" to be a "silent accusing witness" But veterans says many of them subsequently developed cancers and health conditions, while others died young and their children suffer medical complications.

And they want the govenrnment to honour its responsibilities to them.

Veterans Minister Peeni Henare spoke to Lisa Owen.