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Nuclear Free Zone Extension

October 27, 2000


PRESS RELEASE

NUCLEAR FREE ZONE EXTENSION


The “Eco City” wants an extension to New Zealand’s nuclear free zone.

Waitakere City Council is supporting a bill currently before parliament, which will extend the nuclear free zone beyond the present 12-mile limit off New Zealand’s coast.

If introduced by the government, the bill would extend the limit to 200 miles off- shore, prohibiting ships carrying radioactive material or nuclear weapons.

Waitakere City (formerly Waitemata) was one of the first local authorities in the country to declare itself nuclear free, in 1983.

“It was a symbolic gesture at the time, and one that helped raise public awareness of nuclear arms and environmental issues,” says Mayor Bob Harvey. “Our submission continues to mirror that high level of public feeling.”

The Council’s submission will focus on the need to protect New Zealand and its coastal environment from accidental spillage or discharge.

“At the moment, ships carrying nuclear waste and other radioactive material regularly pass through our shipping lanes. This bill will mean that if an accident does occur, it won’t, happen on our doorstep,” Mr Harvey says.

“The recent disaster (involving the Russian nuclear submarine the Kursk) in the Barent Sea shows that accidents do happen. Any nuclear accident in our coastal waters would have catastrophic environmental and economic effects.”

Submissions on the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill close at the end of October.

Ends

For further information: Phone Mayor Harvey (836 8000, ext 8003)

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