(A part of a Submission to the Government Joint Working Group - 2005)
Today we meet to make a call
for compensation or recompense.
Our voices united one and all
and all we seek is common sense
I know I went of my own free will
and I knew I could even come to harm -
But to suffer from that which has no pill -
what was the point of going to Nam?
It was never meant to be this way
yet it all went wrong right from the start.
So put it right – hear what we say -
Whilst politicians dally and deny their part,
not understanding or even trying
to except that we are not the norm.
Never witnessing the grief and the crying
or the physical declining of our form.
Putting processes into place
that hinders treatment when it’s needed.
Processes that are a damned disgrace.
We ask for help and it’s seldom heeded.
For what sense is there when you’re in pain
or something needs to be seen quick smart,
that you first must some permission gain
from one who sits in Wellington’s heart?
For who can tell when health declines,
and there’s a need for some care,
that certain ailments of any kind
came from here or came from there?
And who’s the bright spark that knows so well
those certain ailments are the only confirmed
or have a link to this orange “spell”
and all other ailments are our own concern?
Our offspring suffer (and we grow more sorry)
health problems of so many kinds.
Such problems were never before a worry
now are never far from our minds.
A daughter born with a hand deformed -
and offspring all half deaf and half blind -
“Orange is not the cause” I’m informed
“so these are not for us to mind.”
Another moko with SDS
or Schwachman-Diamond Syndrome.
What is that you may request -
A serious illness that keeps her at home
Yes, I answered the call to arms
prepared to lay my life on the line,
but Agent Orange and all its harms
were never part of the deal at any time.
So to compensate for the entire wrath
all I ask is free medical attention
for my kin and myself henceforth
and nothing like a politician’s pension.
So lets see now how it pans out.
Your decisions will determine that
and if it all amounts to ‘nought’.
Then what was the point of this here chat?