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NZ funds for campaign against nuclear terrorism

12 March 2004 Media Statement

NZ funds for campaign against nuclear terrorism

New Zealand is contributing a further $20,000 to the Nuclear Security Fund of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to help fight the possibility of nuclear terrorism, Disarmament and Arms Control Minister, Marian Hobbs, said today.

"The international effort against terrorism is a priority for the government," Marian Hobbs said. "We are determined to play our part in trying to make sure that terrorist groups are not able to get their hands on material with potentially catastrophic consequences. Over the last three years we have given nearly $50,000 to the Nuclear Security Fund, and we think it is money well spent."

This is the third contribution New Zealand has made to the Fund, set up in 2002 by the IAEA in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001. Many of the projects funded are related to tracking down and securing lost radioactive sources in the states of the former Soviet Union, where unaccounted for nuclear material is a significant problem.

"This is one way in which New Zealand is contributing to international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Marian Hobbs said. "If terrorists were able to acquire even a small amount of radioactive material, a 'dirty bomb' could wreak havoc."

The government's latest contribution was announced at the Agency’s Board of Governors' meeting in Vienna this week, where the most high profile issue before the Board is Iran's nuclear programme. New Zealand is currently a member of the Board.

ENDS

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