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Goff on missile defence system

Goff on missile defence system

Australia's decision to investigate missile defence was a matter for it to decide, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

"As a sovereign nation it makes its own decisions, just as we make ours," Mr Goff said.

"New Zealand, however, will not be seeking to become involved in missile defence.

"As Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill has acknowledged, the programme remains technically unproven and is enormously expensive.

"Other nuclear weapons states such as China see the programme as making a pre-emptive nuclear strike possible and may therefore simply respond by escalating a nuclear arms race.

"New Zealand regards the greatest contemporary threat to us as being terrorism, against which missile defence would be unlikely to provide protection. New Zealand is not under threat of nuclear attack by another state.

"Because of its catastrophic impact, nuclear warfare however continues to pose a threat to mankind generally.

"The greatest safeguard against this is to make continued efforts multilaterally to achieve nuclear disarmament.

"Two years ago the nuclear weapons states made an unequivocal commitment at the Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to eliminate nuclear weapons, which they should be pressed to fulfil.

"New Zealand will continue to make efforts through groups such as the New Agenda to progress nuclear disarmament.

"Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only ultimate defence against their use," Mr Goff said.

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