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Labour out of touch over nuclear ban


Labour out of touch over nuclear ban

ACT Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman Ken Shirley today labelled the Labour Government’s refusal to consider a referendum on lifting the ban on nuclear-powered US ships visiting New Zealand ports as arrogant.

Today in Parliament Mr Shirley asked Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff if Labour would consider a public referendum asking Kiwis whether US ships should be allowed to visit New Zealand ports. Mr Goff ruled it out.

“Labour is out of touch with public thinking on the issue. On Sunday, I released the results of a Digipoll that showed a majority of New Zealanders support lifting the ban,” Mr Shirley said.

“Labour’s arrogant ‘we know best’ attitude smacks of a government that’s been in power far too long and refuses to listen to public opinion.

“The authoritative Somers report concluded in 1992 that there were no public safety or environmental concerns that justified the continuation of the nuclear ship ban.

“My private members’ bill will remove clause 11 of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Disarmament and Arms Control Act, which bans nuclear-powered ships entering New Zealand’s ports and territorial waters.

“Such a step would remove the final obstacle to New Zealand re- establishing its participation in ANZUS, and put us on an equal footing with Australia in negotiating an FTA with the US.

“I’m confident that a majority of New Zealanders now believe the ban should go. I call on both the Labour and National parties to also support my bill and allow the public to express their views in a formal referendum,” Mr Shirley said.

ENDS

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