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National/Act want nuclear weapons in NZ

18 March 2002 Media Statement

National/Act want nuclear weapons in NZ

National and Act are preparing to sell New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy down the river, says Disarmament Minister Matt Robson.

He was responding to recent reports from the new leader of the National Party, Bill English and the out-going former defence Minister, Max Bradford.

Max Bradford praised the Australian guest speaker at the Act Party’s conference this weekend – Peter Reith – for attacking New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy.

“Max Bradford can say what he likes, but New Zealanders are immensely proud of our nuclear-free position in the world,” says Matt Robson

“We stand beside Ireland, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt and Sweden in the New Agenda coalition of countries who are committed to the total eradication of nuclear weapons.

“It seems a National/Act government would pull us out of those coalitions and take us back to the days of a less than independent foreign policy.”

In a press release Bill English critisised Helen Clark for promising not to sell out New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy.

“Bill English should come clean with the New Zealand public and campaign openly to reverse the nuclear-free legislation of the 1980s. Certainly his coalition partner, the Act Party are doing just that,” says Matt Robson.

Matt Robson is in Mexico to attend the Monterrey UN conference on Financing for Development.

While in Mexico he will meet with New Agenda colleagues, including Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister, Marin Bosch to discuss how best to advance the goal of a Nuclear Weapon Free Southern Hemisphere.

“My challenge to the assembled world delegates here will be this: don’t increase military spending, particularly on nuclear weapons - increase the money we spend on development for the poorest people in the world,” says Matt Robson.


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