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First step to nuclear-free world - Green Bill

17 April 2001

First step to nuclear-free world is supporting Green bill

"If Prime Minister Helen Clark is serious about campaigning for a nuclear-free world then she has no choice but to fully back my bill which would keep all nuclear ships and shipments out of our waters," Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Ms Fitzsimons' Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill would extend New Zealand's very small nuclear-free zone to the full 200 mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) over which we have responsibility for fisheries and the environment. It would also ban all ships carrying nuclear weapons, wastes and fuel from that zone.

The Foreign Affairs and Trade select committee is currently hearing submissions and is due to report back to parliament on July 5 this year.

"The Greens are delighted with Ms Clark's comments - made at Hiroshima - confirming her commitment to a nuclear-free world, and I look forward to her support for my bill," she said.

"Passing this legislation would re-establish New Zealand as the global leader in the campaign for a nuclear-free world. If other countries also declare their waters nuclear-free, the global transport of hazardous nuclear material will become very difficult and eventually impossible.

"However if this Government is to support the bill, Ms Clark must drive the issue."

Ms Fitzsimons said keeping the increasing numbers of nuclear fuel and waste shipments out of New Zealand waters was a basic issue of national sovereignty and most New Zealanders would support this.

"Currently nuclear ships and cargoes are classified as 'innocent passage' under the International Law of the Sea, yet the shipments which will increasingly run through the Tasman contain some of the most dangerous substances known to humans," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"I know Helen Clark is genuine about wanting a nuclear-free world. She now has the perfect platform to show the world the way to real and significant change," she said.

"With the Tasman Sea fast becoming a nuclear highway, the time for talk is well and truly over."

ENDS


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