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NZ leads on nuclear-free stance

1 March 2005

NZ leads on nuclear-free stance – 20 years on from Oxford Union Debate

Disarmament Minister Marian Hobbs will be advocating for a strengthened nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty when she represents New Zealand at the five-yearly NPT review conference in New York in May.

It is 20 years today since former Prime Minister David Lange won the 1985 Oxford Union debate arguing that nuclear weapons were morally indefensible. Today Marian Hobbs reiterated that nuclear disarmament remains New Zealand's ultimate goal.

"We all remember how proud we felt when David articulated our nation's attitude to nuclear weapons," Marian Hobbs said. "New Zealanders can be just as proud today knowing that we continue to play a leading role advancing the notion of a world without nuclear weapons.

"New Zealand chairs the New Agenda Coalition, a group of nations (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland,New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa and Sweden) pursuing worldwide nuclear disarmament. We have been very encouraged that the New Agenda resolution at UN 2004 on nuclear disarmament was supported by key NATO states including Germany, Belgium, Norway, Canada and Turkey as well as Japan and Korea. The resolution included 'an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals'.

"In New York in May we will be pushing very strongly for both progress on nuclear disarmament by the nuclear weapon states and progress on controlling the spread of nuclear weapons.

"I am determined to approach the Review Conference with the hope that we can work together to make real progress and hoping that our overarching goal of a world free from nuclear weapons will be an enduring legacy for our children."

ENDS


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