September 02, 2021
Poisoned timber workers still fight for help
The whānau of former sawmill workers poisoned by timber treatment chemicals will share their story today with an independent commission looking at the effects of chemicals on the New Zealand environment.
Sawmill Workers Against Poisons was formed 25 years ago by the late Joe Harawira and other former Whakatāne Sawmill workers who were concerned at the lack of action by authorities over their accumulating health problems.
His daughter Marama Harawira-Cook says the effects are now being felt down the generations.
She says SWAP continues to fight to get the remaining mill workers, who were mainly Māori, the help they need.
"There are a lot that are still suffering, that still have very mamae bodies, there is a lot of mental well being that needs to be addressed. The intention is to move slowly through the menfolk, the womenfolk, and the children. This is what this poutini does, this toxin, this kino does, it travels through our whānau, it travels through our whakapapa," Ms Harawira-Cook says.
SWAP will make its submission to the People’s Inquiry on Toxic Chemicals by Zoom this morning.
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