Office of the
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

23 January 1998

Media Statement
For Immediate Release

Nuclear Shipment to Stay Away from NZ: McKinnon

"A weight off my mind" was Foreign Minister Don McKinnon's reaction to the announcement that a ship of nuclear waste, which left France on 21 January, would travel to Japan by the Panama Canal.

"We have made it very clear to the countries concerned that we want such shipments to stay away from New Zealand," said Mr. McKinnon.

"I am pleased that this time the route does not come near New Zealand or other South Pacific countries."

Mr. McKinnon said that New Zealand has been busy in international fora on the nuclear waste issue since the passage of the Pacific Teal through the Tasman Sea in early 1997.

"We were very pleased that agreement was reached last year to start the process of making the Irradiated Nuclear Fuels Code (regulations for transporting nuclear material) mandatory."

"But we want greater transparency about future shipments, and more certainty about liability for any accident. We will be continuing to raise these issues internationally."

Contact: Jo Coughlan, Press Secretary, ph. 471 9811; 025 405 082; 475 7203 (hm)

Parliament Buildings
Wellington, New Zealand
Telephone: 0064 4 471 9997
Facsimile: 0064 4 471 1444

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