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Nats desert Nuclear Ships

Nats desert Nuclear Ships

Heather Roy, ACT New Zealand

Thursday, 9 February 2006 Press Releases - Defence

"ACT is unequivocal about our stand on nuclear propulsion of vessels - we maintain that nuclear propelled ships should be able to enter New Zealand waters", ACT National Security spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"It is very disappointing the National party has now removed even the pretence of leadership on this crucial security issue by abandoning the possibility of a referendum.

"The issue is not nuclear weapons, not nuclear power stations but allowing nuclear propelled vessels into New Zealand waters. A report commissioned by Cabinet in 1992 - the Somers Report - concluded that there were no public safety or environmental concerns that justified the continuation of this ban. However this advice has been steadfastly ignored ever since in favour of political posturing to win votes.

"ACT remains committed to making quality decisions based on sound reasoning. We are also committed to maintaining good relationships with our traditional allies, countries we have fought alongside in two world wars.

"Forgotten in this whole debate is the fact that no nuclear propelled surface vessel carries nuclear weapons. It is also a fact that no nuclear or conventionally powered foreign warship would ever visit our ports without the consent of the New Zealand Government. This legislative ban is totally unnecessary and extremely offensive to our allies.

"Labour's policy stand is for New Zealand to remain nuclear free, but we are not a nuclear free country. New Zealanders benefit daily from the medical advances of nuclear medicine.

"The 1992 Somers Report stated that more nuclear radiation was emitted from Auckland Hospital in one day that was emitted from the US Navy in a year. It is important that we keep emotive issues like the debate around nuclear propulsion in perspective and scientific realities are not ignored said Mrs Roy.

"Former ACT MP Ken Shirley last year had a private members bill before Parliament seeking to 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. Neither Labour nor National supported Mr Shirley's bill."

ENDS


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