New Zealand government apologizes to Vietnam War veterans for mistreatment, neglect

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand: The New Zealand government made a formal apology to the nation's Vietnam War veterans Wednesday for mistreatment and neglect — 36 years after they withdrew from the conflict.

Nearly 3,900 New Zealand troops were sent to fight in Vietnam — 37 were killed and 187 wounded. Since the war ended, hundreds more have suffered from or died of illnesses, particularly cancers increasingly linked to the use of the defoliant Agent Orange.

The government "apologizes formally to veterans and their families for the history of pain and suffering experienced by many of them," Prime Minister Helen Clark told Parliament. "It is time for reconciliation."

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