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Nuclear Ban Makes NZ A World Laughing Stock

Nuclear Ban Makes NZ A World Laughing Stock

Thursday 13 May 2004 - Ken Shirley

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's snipe at New Zealand's nuclear ban should be yet another wake up call for New Zealand, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Defence Spokesman Ken Shirley said today.

"The Labour Government's staunch adherence to the ban on nuclear propulsion is nothing more than Cold War rhetoric that will progressively isolate New Zealand and make us the laughing stock of the world," Mr Shirley said.

"Contrary to popular belief, New Zealand is not nuclear free, deploying many nuclear technologies throughout our economy and social services.

"As Alexander Downer observed, the 1992 Somers Report concluded that there is no environmental risk or public safety issue justifying the ban on nuclear propulsion, and his harsh criticisms of the National Party were well-deserved - particularly in light of its recent failure to stop fence-sitting on this important strategic issue.

"Lockwood Smith's lame attempts to defend National's indecision do not wash. The Cold War environment had already changed by the time National considered the Somers Report. The Soviet Union had collapsed, and the US had already declared that its surface ships would not carry nuclear weapons.

"The Labour Government is trapped by its own historic rhetoric, but the National Party has no excuse for failing to move on this issue," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS

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