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Nuclear Test Threat Demands Immediate Response

The New Zealand government should be wasting no time in telling the United States that any resumption of nuclear tests is unacceptable, Green Party Disarmament spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

Earlier today, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld left open the possibility that underground tests might resume, supposedly to keep its nuclear arsenal "safe and reliable."

"The Labour government says it was quick to get on the phone to offer support after September 11," said Mr Locke. "It should treat this threat to restart nuclear tests with the same urgency."

"The so-called 'war against terrorism' is farcical if we allow countries to test and maintain nuclear bombs, with their capacity to kill millions of innocent people.

"Even the tragedy of September 11 would pale in comparison to the explosion of one nuclear bomb over a city.

"There is a danger that the Bush administration is using the triumphalism surrounding its war in Afghanistan to advance its reactionary defence agenda. It has already signalled its desire to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty - and now it is making noises about resuming nuclear testing.

"The Bush administration would have been encouraged that New Zealand, a country with one of the proudest anti-nuclear records, supported its war in Afghanistan," Mr Locke said.

"It is therefore incumbent on the Clark government to say 'no', the resumption of nuclear testing will never be acceptable to the world."


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