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Nuclear free policy reflects New Zealand's values

Nuclear free policy reflects New Zealand's values

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Minister Phil Goff today launched Labour’s Foreign Affairs policy, saying New Zealand’s nuclear free legislation was too important to New Zealanders for parties’ positions to be left unclear.

Labour is promising to maintain New Zealand’s nuclear free status, and is challenging National to state its support for the nuclear free legislation.

“We believe the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders want to keep New Zealand nuclear free, independent, and committed to playing a role in creating a more peaceful, prosperous and stable world,” Helen Clark said.

“New Zealanders are proud of the stands our country takes on international issues. Our nuclear-free policy is an important symbol of New Zealand’s values in the twenty-first century. It is too important to be put at risk.

“New Zealand has built a reputation as a country which makes a strong contribution to international affairs, and which is prepared to think and speak for itself.

"Over the last six years, Labour has ensured that New Zealand has lived up to that reputation. For Labour, New Zealand's right to make its own decisions is an important issue in its own right. National under Don Brash seems to be easily swayed by the views of other nations.

“Today’s National Party appears to want the nuclear free legislation repealed, New Zealanders participating in wars like Iraq, and our independent foreign policy traded away. These views have been expressed in: Dr Brash’s ‘gone by lunchtime’ comment on our nuclear free policy, and his belief that New Zealand should have committed combat forces to Iraq; Lockwood Smith's suggestion that a US think tank could help National sell its pro-nuclear policy; Simon Power's promise that our troops would fight wherever requested by Australia, the UK or the US; and Nick Smith's belief that we should withdraw from Kyoto unless Australia and the US sign up.

“National should now indicate whether it is willing to support Labour in maintaining our nuclear free status. If it did, it would signal a return to the bipartisan commitment to keeping New Zealand nuclear free which existed in Jim Bolger’s time,” Helen Clark said.

Phil Goff said that Labour would not commit combat troops to Iraq.

“The war in Iraq was wrong, and we did not join it. We continue to give full support to the international efforts against terrorism which we see as vital to security and safety in the world. This has been an important element of our foreign policy since 2001.”

Phil Goff said that supporting the development of countries in the Pacific is a priority for Labour, and New Zealand must continue to play a lead role in promoting sustainable development, democratic governance and security in the region.

"We are also reaching out to Asia as a region which is very important to our future security and prosperity, while we also strengthen our traditional relationships with Australia, the United States, and the EU.

"Our relationship with the US is critical, given that country’s status as the world’s sole superpower. As is the case with Australia, our perspectives sometimes differ, but in many areas we have very similar goals. Maintaining a strong relationship with the US is an essential part of Labour's foreign policy objectives.

"As a small nation, we need to support multilateralism as well as build strong regional and bilateral relationships. Labour believes that the UN must continue to be the pre-eminent global forum for solving international issues. We will work to re-invigorate the UN and to reform the Security Council so that it has an equitable regional representation and a stronger voice for developing countries.

"Labour believes Official Development Assistance is one way that New Zealand can contribute meaningfully to building a peaceful, prosperous and just world. Our priority will remain the Pacific region.

"We are equally committed to a multilateral global trading system which is rules based, free, fair, and transparent. Not only New Zealand but countries in the developing world will benefit hugely when the rich OECD countries end their $360 billion-a-year agriculture subsidies and grant freer access to their markets.

"Through its long history, Labour Party has consistently been internationalist in outlook. We will continue to press for policies which promote peace, prosperity and stability, and to promote advances in the mutually dependent areas of development, nuclear disarmament, security, and human rights," Mr Goff said.

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