Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Plutonium Shipments Nearing New Zealand

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today called on the Government to send an airforce Orion plane to check the position of two shipments of plutonium which are nearing New Zealand.

Two armed ships Pacific Teal and Pacific Pintail are bound for Japan from Europe and carry nuclear fuel containing a total of 446kgs of plutonium, which is to be delivered to a nuclear power plant in Japan. The ships are believed to be about to enter the Tasman Sea today or tomorrow.

"These shipments are much more dangerous than the Pacific Teal shipment of February 1997 which carried waste and not fuel, and which was not weapons-usable," Ms Fitzsimons said today. "The current shipments carry enough plutonium to make about 60 nuclear weapons."

Ms Fitzsimons is asking an oral question in Parliament about the shipments today. She is also hoping to get multi-party agreement in Parliament this week on a strongly-worded resolution opposing the shipments, similar to a resolution already passed by the Australian Senate.

In 1997 Ms Fitzsimons drafted legislation, the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill, aimed largely at preventing nuclear fuel or waste from entering New Zealand waters. The bill is still in the ballot.

"While the chances of a disaster are small, the results of fire or collision would be so catastrophic that the country might never recover from it," Ms Fitzsimons said today.

"New Zealanders deserve to know how close the present shipments are. They are the first of many, and are seeking the route of least resistance around the world.

"Unless New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific back up words with actions, the Tasman Sea will become the preferred route for eight of these deadly shipments every year."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little...

“The advice I have received indicates that it is likely to be around February before the re-entry proper gets underway, by breaching the 30m seal.” More>>


Rebuilding: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>


Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>


Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>


"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>


Govt Loses In Supreme Court: Call For Debate On Prisoners' Right To Vote

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. More>>





InfoPages News Channels