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Failure to lift ban on nuclear ships a tragedy

Failure to lift ban on nuclear-powered ships a tragedy for NZ


ACT Foreign Affairs spokesman Ken Shirley said it would be a tragedy for New Zealand if both Labour and National vote to defeat his bill which seeks to lift the ban on nuclear powered ships visiting New Zealand's ports.

Mr Shirley's private members' bill removes 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.

"National and Labour's refusal to support my bill has all but ruled out the prospect of New Zealand signing a free trade agreement with the United States and the re-establishment of the ANZUS alliance," Mr Shirley said. "Economists have told me that an FTA with the US would be worth over $1 billion per year to New Zealand.

"Departing United States Ambassador Charles Swindells hinted during his farewell speech that until New Zealand relaxed its nuclear ban there would be no progress on an FTA with the US.

"Both Labour and National have put political gamesmanship ahead of repealing clause 11 - despite the Somers report concluding in 1992 that there were no public safety or environmental concerns that justified the continuation of this nonsensical ban.

"It must also be appreciated that no nuclear or conventionally powered foreign warship ever visit our ports without the consent of the New Zealand Government. To have a legislative ban is totally unnecessary and extremely offensive to our allies.

"If Parliament does not refer my bill to a select committee for further consideration, it will have passed a golden opportunity to throw out this relic from the Cold War-era and restore our once strong relationship with the US. It would be a tragedy for New Zealand," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS

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