Cel­e­brat­ing 30 years of nu­clear-free NZ

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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.

SUPPLIED

The Peace Foun­da­tion cre­ated a gi­ant hu­man peace sym­bol at Auck­land Mu­seum to cel­e­brate 30 years nu­clear-free.

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