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Stop Gambling with our Nuclear Free Future!

Stop Gambling with our Nuclear Free Future!

Auckland 29 May 2003 - Greenpeace today sent a pack of its nuclear playing cards to the Minster of Trade Negotiations and leaders of the opposition parties to remind them of the dangers posed by nuclear arsenals, and to demand that they stop playing poker with New Zealand’s nuclear free future.

Minister of Trade Negotiations Jim Sutton recently made ‘’personal’’ comments about possibly rethinking the nuclear power aspect of our nuclear free legislation. The legislation has been called an obstacle to progress on a free trade deal with the US by opposition politicians and US trade representatives.

“Nuclear power and nuclear weapons have not suddenly become safe overnight because some politicians would like a free trade deal with the US,” said Bunny McDiarmid of Greenpeace.

“To gamble with New Zealand’s nuclear-free future on the slim hope of a free trade deal is dangerously short-sighted and demonstrates ignorance of what the legislation means.”

The Greenpeace deck of cards shows President Bush and seven other leaders with the number of nuclear weapons their countries possess. The ace of spades shows Bush has around 10,600 weapons while Russian President Vladimir Putin is the ace of hearts with around 18,000 nuclear weapons. French President Jacques Chirac is the ace of clubs, and Britain's Tony Blair is the ace of diamonds. The kings feature the leaders of China, Pakistan, India and Israel - all countries with nuclear weapons. The two of diamonds notes that 128,000 nuclear weapons have been built worldwide since 1945.

“The cards are a powerful reminder of the increasing number of nuclear weapons and who the real proliferators are. Much of that proliferation has been able to happen as a result of the trade of peaceful nuclear power technology,” said McDiarmid.

“While no commentator has suggested that New Zealand get rid of its ban on nuclear weapons, recent comments show an ignorance of the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and of the important role that New Zealand is able to play internationally in the disarmament debate because of its unequivocal nuclear-free status.”

For further information please contact Bunny McDiarmid on 021 838 183 or Glyn Walters on 021 772 661.

To play a game of nuclear solitaire or to view and downloaded the cards, please go to: http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/news/news_main.asp?PRID=518

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