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NZ leads charge for nuclear disarmament

23 December 1999

NZ leads charge for nuclear disarmament

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the new government would increase New Zealand's international efforts to persuade nuclear weapon states to disarm.

The Prime Minister, working with Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Matt Robson and Ohariu-Belmont MP Peter Dunne, has tabled a government notice of motion calling on the New Zealand Parliament to resolve to appeal to all United Nations member states to pursue nuclear disarmament.

Helen Clark said that despite the achievements of the past twenty years, there remained much work to be done to make the world a safer place.

"Some nations still retain large nuclear arsenals. Countries like India and Pakistan have also successfully entered the nuclear club. Others still seek to build nuclear capacity.

"In the 21st century, New Zealand will increase its efforts to lobby other countries for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

"New Zealand has a proud record in the vanguard of the nuclear disarmament movement. It was Norman Kirk?s government which in 1973 sent a New Zealand frigate to protest against French atmospheric nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

"Under David Lange's government, New Zealand became the first country to ban nuclear weapons and nuclear powered ships from its shores. Mr Bolger's administration took the French Government to the International Court of Justice to try to stop the resumption of underground nuclear tests at Moruroa in 1995.

"It is my intention that the new government will vigorously pursue the cause of nuclear disarmament. I am grateful for United Leader Peter Dunne's assistance in drafting the notice of motion which has been tabled," Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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