25 May 2009

NZ considering tougher anti-nuke stance, says Key

5:53 pm on 25 May 2009

The Government is looking at toughening New Zealand's anti-nuclear stance by pushing for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, Prime Minister John Key said on Monday.

Malcolm Fraser, a former prime minister of Australia, is urging New Zealand to take a leadership role on nuclear disarmament.

Mr Fraser met Mr Key in Wellington on Monday to discuss his proposal that like-minded countries form a group to push for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Mr Fraser has formed a group in Australia of military, scientific and technical experts concerned about the risk of nuclear proliferation.

He says United States President Barack Obama has made eliminating nuclear weapons a priority and other countries have to offer him support.

Mr Key says nuclear weapons proliferation was the top issue raised by Mr Obama when they spoke by telephone earlier in May.

Mr Key did not rule out New Zealand doing more and said the Government would consider its options for taking a bolder line on nuclear disarmament.

He said news of North Korea's latest nuclear test on Monday is very disappointing, particularly in light of its decision not to take part in talks on its nuclear programme.