24 Nov 2010

Compensation ruling disappoints NZ sailor

8:55 pm on 24 November 2010

A New Zealand sailor says he was devastated to learn that veterans who took part in British nuclear tests in the Pacific have had their claim for compensation dismissed.

Altogether, 551 New Zealand sailors were at a series of tests at Christmas Island in the late 1950s.

The veterans say they have suffered health problems, including cancer, skin defects and fertility problems.

However, the High Court in London has ruled they are not entitled to compensation.

A sailor who observed five bomb tests, Roy Sefton, says he is disappointed by the decision, which comes a surprise and will be challenged by the group's lawyer.

But the potential for justice reduces as veterans get older and die, he says.