"If you look at any major chemical plant anywhere in the world you will find massive rates of the same sorts of diseases. Here in New Plymouth, Down’s Syndrome and Spina Bifida are going through the roof.
"Our local school has 1200 kids and in 1999 they advertised for ten special needs teachers. I've found out in one Kindergarten alone there are four kids with cancer.
"People of New Plymouth are very illiterate to it all. That’s because there has been a huge cover up. Imagine the legal implications of this. The damages would run into billions.
Drake thought the new Labour government, with its Green allies, would order a fresh enquiry following new American evidence on the damaging effects of dioxin. Instead, he says, they are happy to sweep the issue under the carpet. In June of this year Health Minister Annette King refused calls for a new enquiry, relying on conclusions found in 1986 – interestingly a report delivered under the previous Labour Government.
"While I appreciate the ongoing concerns about the health of people living around New Plymouth, from the advice I have received from Ministry officials, I am satisfied that the monitoring and investigation carried out around IWD previously were adequate to show that significant exposure of the local population did not occur."
King went on to say that a study of targeted groups who believe they have been exposed would be too expensive and difficult.
"The residents present prior to that time may have moved and would need to be traced for testing to be meaningful," she said.
"A detailed analysis of the health data relating to the Taranaki region would be needed before any conclusions relating to the relative rates of cancer, birth defects, or other diseases such as MS, could be meaningfully compared. I understand such a process could be carried out but it is difficult to see what would be gained by doing so now."