10 Jan 2008

New Zealand disarmament campaigner to highligh Pacific Issues

6:15 pm on 10 January 2008

A New Zealand anti-nuclear campaigner appointed as a disarmament adviser to the United Nations secretary general says she will use the post to raise the profile of Pacific Island issues.

Dr Kate Dewes is understood to be the first New Zealander to be appointed to the 19-strong UN panel, and has been working in the area for more than 30 years.

Ms Dewes says she is honoured by the appointment.

She says issues from the Pacific often aren't raised in such a forum.

"I suppose one that has always concerned me is the ongoing effects of nuclear testing in our region. There's the question of gun running and small arms and just the way the Pacific has been used by the big powers in terms of military bases. They're issues that I think should be there, but there's also the positive models that can be used for example, the peace process in Bougainville."

Kate Dewes says it's important to for Pacific Island nations to participate in the discussions - but recognises it is difficult for them to get to the un.