Solidarity message from New Zealand

Greetings from the DU Education Team in Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand. We wish the conference every success, and are sorry we cannot be with you.

In February last year a 3,000 signature petition was presented to our Parliament, requesting that our country follow Belgium's lead in banning Uranium munitions. While progress towards a domestic ban is slow, we do not believe it has been disrupted unduly by a change to a centre-right government which occurred at the end of last year.

Soon after the swearing in of the new government, two representatives of our group [Kate Dewes and Rob Green] met with new opposition Disarmament Spokesperson Phil Twyford, who is also a new member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee considering the petition. Phil undertook to raise the DU petition and recommend an update briefing of the committee.

In early February our two representatives met with Georgina Te Heuheu, the new Maori Disarmament Minister, and Ministry officials to brief them on our work. We urged them to pick up the petition again very soon. The new minister was impressive, showing intelligent interest; but the officials continued to take an over-cautious position.

In any new hearing of the Committee, we have resolved to push for a decision on the petition, plus a New Zealand report along the lines of Belgium's to the UN Secretary-General Law with the latest DU resolution. We will also press for a showing of the DVD prepared for the Committee by Dr Rosalie Bertell and bring Rosalie in again on a telephone link-up.

Mau tonu ake te rongo [Peace prevails always]

Rob Ritchie
[For DUET]