Celebrating 30 years of nuclear-free NZ
Hundreds of people came together in Auckland to form a peace sign, celebrating 30-years of New Zealand being nuclear-free.
A public event was organised in the Auckland Domain on Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of the passing of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone as well as the Disarmament, and Arms Control Act, which made New Zealand nuclear-free.
The United States in return downgraded New Zealand’s status from ally to friends.
Sunday’s event, put on by the Peace Foundation, was billed as a chance for people to take a stand for peace.
The organisers also hoped it would provide the first chance for younger people to acknowledge the country’s nuclear-free status.
The event was the first of its kind and one of many nationwide being organised throughout this year to mark the legislation.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, as one of 7000 ‘ Mayors for Peace’ around the world who are calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, spoke at the event. Goff said the 30th anniversary was a time to reflect on the horror of war and to learn lessons from the past.
‘‘New Zealand is proudly nuclear-free and we must continue to strive for a peaceful world, free of nuclear arms,’’ Goff said.
He unveiled a peace plaque beside a pohutakawa tree.
The plaque was placed partly to support the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty negotiations, currently underway in New York. The conference will involve 132 countries.
Though support for a ban on nuclear weapons is growing, the ban treaty has no support from the nine known nuclear states.
Those are the US, China, France, Britain, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.
Greenpeace NZ executive director Russel Norman said climate change and nuclear weapons were two undeniable existential threats to human survival.
‘‘On the 30th anniversary of New Zealand’s Nuclear Free Zone status, it’s heartening to see our government taking a strong stand on nuclear disarmament.
‘‘We should always remember that our nuclear-free status was created by the people of New Zealand and in the process, they set an example that the rest of the world can follow,’’ Norman said.
The Peace Foundation created a giant human peace symbol at Auckland Museum to celebrate 30 years nuclear-free.