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New Zealand must act on increasing nuclear waste shipments
Green Party media release
16 January 2001
Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today urged all New Zealanders to get behind her Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill as three highly toxic nuclear shipments travel the worlds oceans, with many more predicted.
Ms Fitzsimons currently has a members bill before Select Committee which seeks to extend New Zealand's nuclear free zone to include all of the waters in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) out to 200 miles from the coast. Currently New Zealand's nuclear free zone includes waters only 12 miles out from the coastline and nuclear waste and fuel shipments are not even banned from those inshore waters.
"Currently we have three shipments of nuclear waste on the world's oceans. Two are reprocessed plutonium and mixed oxide fuel for power stations in Japan and one is the largest high level nuclear waste shipment ever at sea," said Ms Fitzsimons.
A spokesperson from Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited has said there are plans for up to 20 more such shipments over the next 10 years.
Ms Fitzsimons said that contrary to the accepted international code there has been no environmental impact assessment published for these shipments and no prior consultation with countries along the route.
"One such current shipment is likely to travel through Chile's 200 mile EEZ despite strong opposition from Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. My bill is designed to prevent the same thing happening here."
Ms Fitzsimons said while the New Zealand Government have criticised these shipments they have stopped short of instructing them to stay out of our waters. She said the Government was well within its rights to protect the people, environment and natural resources of New Zealand by outlawing nuclear shipments from our EEZ.
Ms Fitzsimons said it was a sick joke for the most dangerous cargos ever to claim 'innocent passage' under the International Law Of The Sea.
"These shipments are both increasing and becoming more dangerous. The Green Party see extending our nuclear free zone as once again leading the world in opposition to the nuclear threat and as a practical step towards protecting New Zealand from the possibility of a nuclear accident at sea.
"I urge those New Zealanders who have not made submissions in support of this bill to do so. While submissions have officially closed, the Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committee will still accept them. This bill was drafted precisely because of the increase in these deadly shipments."
Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 07 868 6641, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090