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Robson advances nuclear-free heritage

21 January 2001 Media Statement

Robson advances nuclear-free heritage

Minister of Disarmament Matt Robson says the Labour Alliance Coalition Government is saying loud and clear to nuclear transporters that they should keep out of our waters.

"We don't want nuclear cargoes anywhere near New Zealand. The transporting states know New Zealand's strong position is that they should sail clear of our Exclusive Economic Zone," he says.

"We have worked hard to get tougher international rules about the transport of nuclear materials. Last year we led the charge in the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna – and we got consensus in the end."

The Vienna consensus resulted in some progress on transport of nuclear material. Shipping states were urged to consider the rights and interests of coastal states such as New Zealand.

"New Zealand is a world leader in nuclear disarmament and wider nuclear issues. Just as we continue to push for a Southern Hemisphere Nuclear-Free Zone, we will also continue to object to the transport of nuclear materials anywhere near New Zealand."

"But our opposition will be conducted within international law. We will not jeopardise our chances of winning international progress on disarmament. It's just too important."

Mr Robson's calls for a Southern Hemisphere nuclear-free zone gained increased support in the UN this year, with only three member states voting against it.

"Under the Labour-Alliance Coalition Government we are making ground on this issue, which is dear to New Zealanders' hearts. But there is still much further to go and we need to keep all our friends and supporters onside."


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