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New Zealanders will make decisions for New Zealand

Don Brash MP National Party Leader
13 May 2004

New Zealanders will make decisions for New Zealand

"The legislative ban on nuclear-powered warships is a matter for New Zealanders to decide," says National Party leader Don Brash.

He is responding to comments from Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, who has criticised Jim Bolger's National Government for not amending anti-nuclear legislation after a scientific report made it clear that nuclear-propelled ships were not a risk to New Zealand.

"Any notion that political leaders can charge off and change policy without regard to the public view is unrealistic.

"Governments need a clear mandate to make such changes and New Zealand would not be well served by wild policy swings," says Dr Brash.

National has produced a discussion document on the US/NZ relationship. Under the so-called Danish solution, the country's nuclear-free status would be retained, but the legislative clause banning nuclear-powered ships, which was the impediment to better US relations, would be removed. Instead, direct government-to-government discussions would ensure nuclear-powered ships did not visit.

"We would like rational discussion around such a solution.

"Labour says there can be no change, full-stop. We say: why not discuss an option which would maintain our nuclear-free status but improve relations with our traditional friends and allies, including Australia," Dr Brash says.

Ends

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