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Has Sutton sold out on a nuclear-free NZ?

Has Sutton sold out on a nuclear-free NZ?

The Green Party is calling on Prime Minister Helen Clark to distance herself from comments by Agriculture Minister, Jim Sutton that New Zealand should rethink its nuclear policy.

"To be charitable, his comments probably sprang from his depression at the death knell of his US free trade dreams," Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today. "However, it is a very worrying matter for a senior Labour cabinet minister to be openly questioning the wisdom of his Government's nuclear-free policy.

"At a time when the world is turning its back on nuclear energy, for a New Zealand cabinet minister to be championing its use in this country is outrageous.

"The obvious inference from Mr Sutton's comments is that New Zealand can only 'do a deal' with the US if it gives in to that country's demands that we change our nuclear-status.

"And are we to assume from his comment that nuclear technology 'is a bit like GM technology. You have to look at it very carefully case by case' that this Government now considers genetic engineering to be as 'safe' as nuclear power?

"Statements from a senior minister - whether categorised a s a 'personal opinion' or not - carry weight, especially if they are diametrically opposed to the stated policy of the Government. What has happened to the concept of 'cabinet collective responsibility?'

"We are calling on Helen Clark to confirm her party's commitment to a nuclear-free New Zealand and to reprimand her Minister for joining forces with the ACT Party."

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