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Nuclear Disarmament Youth Debate: 28 April

Nuclear Disarmament Youth Debate: 28 April in Parliament

On Wednesday, 28 April, six young New Zealanders will grace the Legislative Council Chambers of Parliament – the old Upper House - to debate the question “Has New Zealand dropped the nuclear disarmament ball?”

The debate is part of a youth-led campaign - BANG (Ban All Nukes Generation) Aotearoa – which calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons ‘in this generation’.

BANG has timed the debate between the Nuclear Security Summit – at which New Zealand’s potential role in nuclear disarmament was highlighted by US President Obama – and the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May during which the NPT member countries will spend four weeks negotiating a comprehensive nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament programme.

“Virtually every country in the world will participate in this important NPT conference,’ says Anna Skinner, BANG Aotearoa Coordinator. “It is vital that they take concrete steps to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world in our lifetime.”

“We are at a tipping point in the struggle for a nuclear weapon-free world,” says Natasha Barnes, youth representative on the New Zealand government delegation to the NPT conference. “This year there is a window of opportunity to see progress on an issue that haunts our planet, still threatening its survival. This parliamentary debate comes at a critical time to reignite discussion in New Zealand and let the voices of youth be heard.”

“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has proposed a nuclear abolition treaty,” says Kate Yesberg, member of Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace. “President Obama has called on John Key to pick up the nuclear abolition ball and run with it. But our Prime Minister seems to be fumbling with the ball…”

"New Zealand has helped forge a South Pacific nuclear weapons free zone,” says Wilson Chun Hei Chau, NZ winner of the International Students for a Nuclear Weapons Free World contest organized by Hans Blix. “The next challenge is a World free from nuclear weapons.”

The debate will include parliamentarians Jacinda Arden and Nicky Wagner, and students Wilson Chun Hei Chau, Lyndon Burford, Peter McCaffery (Treasurer of UN Youth Association of New Zealand and President of ACT on Campus), and Caitlin Craigie (Victoria University Debating Society).

Debate details:
4pm Wednesday 28 April
Legislative Council Chambers of parliament
To attend RSVP to james.kennelly@parliament.govt.nz by Monday, 26 April.


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