Sunday, March 20, 2016


I have previously blogged about the Waitangi Tribunal pushing the boundaries in agreeing to hear claims totally outside its mandate encouraged by rapacious lawyers who can see an end to their gravy train now that the end is in sight for the resolution of land grievance claims.

Wai 2500 (the Maori Veteran's Kaupapa Inquiry) is such a claim.   It takes a degree of courage to stand up and call out your own for the abuse of process where embellishment, distortion, misrepresentation and downright lies are being paraded as the truth in an attempt to have the Tribunal recommend that the taxpayer cough up millions to right supposed wrongs.

And so all power to two of my Maori Vietnam veteran colleagues, Sir Wira Gardiner (V4 Coy) and Ross Himona (V1 Coy) with their initiative in seeking a face-to-face meeting with Chief Judge Wilson Issac, Chair of the Waitangi Tribunal, to alert him to the fact that many of the submissions need to be treated with a great deal of caution.    Both had distinguished military careers with Wira, a past Director of the Tribunal, having particular standing and specialist knowledge, but Ross too has long been a respected advocate for Maoridom.  

The reality is that Tribunal does not have the institutional knowledge to separate fact from fiction and so it is encouraging that individual Maori are prepared to stand up and point to the abuse of process.    That is true leadership and they stand as kaumatua to be respected for doing the right thing.

Well done those men.


Anonymous said...

The institutional knowledge that you talk about Veteran is there in the form of two defence force representatives, a university researcher and the Crown lawyers. Their job is to sift the evidence and advise Judge Isaacs in making his decision.

They are not there to cross examine. There in lies the problem. The mad, bad claims should have been examined and chucked out before they got to the legal aid stage and lawyers threatened with sanctions is they continue to rope people off the street just to get their grubby little fingers on the legal aid money.

As most of the claims have Agent Orange at the centre of them and that the Tribunal, Crown and Defence force now are aware of the Select committee and the dodgy maps saga, flight procedures and cut off date it will be interesting to see how much credence they give to the "evidence' without admitting that it was all overhyped. It seems to be it will be all or nothing.

Lord Egbut

Noel said...

If that leadership had reared its head years ago when bandsmen first started imagining they had been sprayed there wouldnt be any need for this interference to protect genuine veterans. I remember another Maori officer claiming he had US maps where he could correlate if exposure existed. I forwarded an enquiry from another Veteran and heard nothing back.

Anonymous said...

Noel: There are no maps, there never have been "maps" made by US armed forces. What there has always been are grid references of missions by date and Province. It's just a bit of DIY to make your own using the Military grid system overlay on Google maps

Phouc Tuy is Province 27 and if I recall is in the bottom quarter of amount of gallonage used.

Just give me a month or operation and I will plot any defoliation missions on that day or days down to 100 metres and without spending any more time on this I can tell there were only about 12 missions flown when NZ troops were on ops and they were more than 20k away. If your eyes were watering it was probably the thought of Rachel Welch on the Bob Hope tour.

Lord Egbut

Noel said...

Wasn't in Phuoc Tuy.

Anonymous said...

You don't get it do you Egbut?

It's too late now. Most wanted to know if they were at risk in the 1980's when that same data was already a part of the NZ Defence Chemical Warfare file.

Noel said...

Anon 9.46
From memory it was "you don't get it. You will never get it nor do I believe you want to get it"

The Veteran said...

Egbut/Noel ... to be fair the dodgy claims have only just manifested themselves in the public arena. You can hardly hold anyone responsible for not having acted sooner. Many stories 'grow' with the telling and truth comes a poor second to fantasy. We owe it to ourselves to set the record straight and I, for one, have no great faith in the ability of serving officers of the NZDF to differentiate between fact and fiction. They weren't there.

Anonymous said...

"have no great faith in the ability of serving officers of the NZDF to differentiate between fact and fiction"

Oh well now they know the true facts surrounding the "Masters Map". And Judith Collins was a party to it.

The Veteran said...

Anon 5.45 ... the Master's Map was only the catalyst that forced the Inquiry. The prime document that the HSC relied on was the one submitted by the NZDF and produced by Brigadier Rick Ottaway and Colonel Ray Seymour which collated information from the US (the Herbs Tapes) and Aust sources and NZDF files (which should have been made available to both the Reeves Inquiry and to Dr McLeod for her report and weren't ... and you wonder why I have no great faith in the ability of serving NZDF officers assisting the Tribunal).

It is a matter of record that the HSC agreed that our forces in Vietnam were exposed to a toxic environment. That Report was endorsed unanimously at a special sitting of Parliament. Nothing you or anyone can say alters that fact.

For myself and I accept that basic conclusion. Indeed, my own 'war diary' records one incident where were walked through and area of secondary jungle that had been sprayed sometime previously and where I recorded that it looked like 'Moonscape' with all the foliage dead. However the scale of that exposure and the resulting consequences remain the subject of debate with some veterans (and notably Lord Egbut) disputing the effect of latency. Some veterans claim they were actually sprayed. My mob wasn't.

Other veterans appear to be using their exposure as a crutch in order to claim that every misfortune that has ever visited upon them can be traced back to that exposure. What I do know is that war is a shitty business and that it effects different people in different ways with some never getting over their experiences. I do not judge them for that.

What I do object to is embellishment, distortion and the disassembling of the truth in order to gain some pecuniary advantage.

I'll finish where I started. The Master's Map was the catalyst for action to right a wrong. The way veterans and their families were treated by the system ... nothing more, nothing less. And only a fool would argue otherwise.

Yep Judith Collins was a party to it ... and so was the whole of Parliament. What's your point?

Anonymous said...

"What I do object to is embellishment, distortion and the disassembling of the truth in order to gain some pecuniary advantage."

That is rather a breathtaking statement Veteran. A group of well educated privileged white men in positions of minor power but high public esteem embellished, distorted, and deceived parliament through the offices of a Select committee including tabling and fabricating documents now known to false. But it is a "catalyst" and "for the greater good"...Oh and 7 million dollars that said gentlemen get paid for administering.

It was this act that led to the more unsophisticated of our group, mainly Maori, believing for years that they were an at risk group and blaming life's shortfalls on a assumption that our leaders were telling the truth.

Now we have a group of ageing down at heel Maori doing exactly the same thing in a less sophisticated manner but using the system to their advantage. Why, because it all started with the select committee, media hype and wild assumptions that have now all proved to be false. No cancer, no birth defects, no high mortality rates proven beyond reasonable doubt by years of epidemiological study on Australian and US veterans.

There is a of of mystique about the defoliation flight paths. they have been in the public domain since the 1980's and if they were never used or never found is more down to the individuals knowledge or research, Although they were waved in the general direction of the camera at the select hearing they were never used.. There they are Noel You can now plot your own downfall:-)

Ignore the preface as this was printed at the time when they had thought there was substance to the Dioxin scare.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Anonymous said...

You say the def reps no nothing because they weren't there, well that makes for a lot of us who were there and stayed on six months longer than you. We saw nothing either and the first time I found out about airpalne spraying was in in 1987.

Anonymous said...

"And 7 million said gentlemen get paid for administering"

Clarification please.

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... clearly we are never going to agree. That's fine. All you need to do is to get the US, Aust and NZ Governments to admit that the whole AO thing is a lie. Mansanto, Dow Chemical and Diomond Shamrock would like that and then they could claim back the USD180m paid over in the class action lawsuit.

And if the whole thing is a lie then why the hell did Monsanto agree back in 2013 to pay USD93m to the residents of Nitro, WA, for the burning of waste from the production of AO in their plant which the residents claim polluted their town ... because Monsanto is a good corporate citizen and loves people ... yeah right.

Noel said...

Egbut said

"A group of well educated privileged (older) white men in positions of minor power"

It became apparent to most observers who it was about when the sole focus of submissions to the new medical oversight thingy was for an elevation of prostate cancer to the ex gratia level.

There was vehement opposition to promoting the Australian RMA SOP's which would have enabled assistance to those with other cancers. Considering the prostate SOP required evidence of 1000hrs of potential exposure that's not surprising.

Anon 7.08
New Zealand's Minister of Defense had access to the Australian Army Report with it's many pages of Ranch Hand Missions in 1982. He couldn't comment at the time because it had to traverse the Australian Senate coming out as the Sinclair report. It detailed the same information derived from the same Herbs as used by 2 Engineers.

Anonymous said...

"Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Diamond Shamrock would like that and then they could claim back the USD180m paid over in the class action lawsuit."

The companies never settled on the basis of culpability. They agreed to pay $180 million, in Judge Weinstein's negotiated settlement plan if the veterans dropped all claims against them. It was never paid out as compensation for exposure to Agent Orange but on the basis of need.

The only institutions who got close to compensating for exposure to Agent Orange were the New Zealand and Canadian Governments with their ex gratia payments.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 7:56. As a part of the MOU negotiations the then Labour Govt. agreed to fork out seven million dollars to be put in trust fund on the condition that it is handed back after 30 years. The said gentlemen are paid travel and accommodation costs plus a salary to administer the miniscule amount of interest that it earns these days.

Veteran: Your comments on the 1986 US class action indicates that your knowledge in that area is limited. If they had won that one which they would have done, just like the others, there was another lawsuit waiting in another state and another one after that ad infinitum. They settled without any admission of wrongdoing and with agreement from the veterans orgs and veterans admin that it would all end from then. It in effect was a group of lawyers who spent millions on nation wide advertising whipping up emotion and when the dust had settled the lawyers rode off into the sunset with the bulk of the money.

Cause and effect: To have an effect you must have a cause and as there has been no effect apart from those who blame life's ills and bad luck on the nearest hanger in this case AO one wonders about the smoke and mirrors over the cause.

Quite simply there is absolutely no difference in veterans mortality or cancer rates and their non vet contempories.

There is big difference in accumulated knowledge and evidence between 1986 and 2002 when NZ stared down this track.

Noel... you are talking nonsense. The herbs tapes have never been a secret and as you are now in possession of them perhaps you give us an example of overflights. All you are doing is muddying the waters and trying to sound knowledgable on a subject you have little grasp of. Nothing you say makes sense.

If you stopped assuming that a court decision 8000 miles away indicates that you have been poisoned then it says more about your belief system than the truth.

The Emperor is not wearing any clothes.

Lord Egbut

Anonymous said...

To understand the US class action system read the book by Jack B. Weinstein the judge in the Agent Orange trials. Basically the plaintiffs hired eleven law firms who in turn rounded up investors to fund the case or cases with the promise of a healthy return. This money was paid to many PR firms and and paid main stream media advertising extolling the horrors of Agent Orange almost of all it without foundation and all found on the internet today. The chemical companies were faced with a tainted jury pool and and litigation that stretched out for years so it was in everyone's interest to settle.

The lawyers walked away with $50 mill for their investors

By 2001 a new untainted generation of researchers, epidemiologists and scientists had overturned all the previously accepted knowledge of the Agent Orange scare however it has stayed in the public memory as poisoning and has not moved on.

"Individual justice in mass tort litigation" by Jack Weinstein

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

Nothing is going to change Egbut's mind on this subject and, as I said, we will agree to disagree. Couple of things I do know. John Master's was perhaps the most honorable and brave man I have met and Egbut does himself no favors by attacking him personally. He believed implicitly the right of his cause (as I guess Egbut does). For myself I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Egbut ... FYI. Those who administer the $7m Trust Fund are not paid an salary. As it is a government fund they are covered by provisions of CO(12)6 and receive a very modest meeting allowance. One has to wonder what exactly are your motives in trying to denigrate them and their work? ... and, to save you the trouble of asking, the Board members serving on the Trust that I Chair do it for nowt. No travelling allowances, no meeting fees, nix. I guess they see it as giving something back to the veteran community.

TY for effectively highjacking this thread which is at an end.

Anonymous said...

As you know this is not a personal, it is merely history being revisited and emotive language does not alter the circumstances of the select committee saga nor does it alter the fact that Maori are following in the footsteps of what went before.

After WW2 the jails of the US and UK were no stranger to many decorated officers whose sense of entitlement slightly overstepped the bounds of what the law thought was acceptable.

Please point out where I am denigrating the trust fund. Somebody asked so I told them, I have no opinion. Instead of pointing out any errors I might have made in my original post you are back to Rottweiler mode and insinuating things that I never said nor ever would.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Shelldrake said...


You really are a well balanced chap.

A chip on both shoulders

The Veteran said...

Egbut ... I was going to delete your post. 'End' in my lexicon' tends to mean end. But you deserve a response. Your 10.30 post .... "A group of well educated privileged white men in positions of minor power but high public esteem embellished, distorted, and deceived parliament through the offices of a Select committee including tabling and fabricating documents now known to false" ... I took to include John Masters and, as I said, you have done yourself no favors in my eyes by attacking him.

In respect of the VV&TF Trust Fund and you said the Trustees received a salary. They don't. Whether that is denigrating their work is perhaps a moot point. But they do the job they are appointed to do to the best of their ability and deserve our thanks and support.

Your views on AO are a matter of record, you defend your corner with tenacity and I have no problem with that. But I think you need to accept there are others who genuinely hold a contrary view and to suggest they were party to fabricating documents is, I think, a 'bridge too far'.

End does now mean end.