WikiLeaks cable: NZ supports US Apec radioactive sources initiative

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

May 13, 2005



1. (U) This message contains an action suggestion, at para 5.

2. (U) Post shared reftel demarche with the Disarmament Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). The Division takes the lead at MFAT on all bilateral and multilateral disarmament-related issues.

3. (U) On May 11, Matthew Aileone, a Policy Officer in the division, told Pol-Econ Couns that New Zealand would support the U.S. APEC Radioactive Sources Initiative. Aileone also confirmed that new radiation protection legislation is now under Cabinet review. The proposed legislation would enable New Zealand to adhere to:

-- the IAEA's Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources,

-- International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the safety of Radiation Sources,

-- the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, and

-- the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

Unfortunately, Aileone could not confirm at this time that the proposed legislation would enable New Zealand to follow the IAEA import/export guidance. He promised to let Pol-Econ Couns know the week of May 15 whether or not New Zealand would commit to the guidance.

4. (SBU) According to Aileone, the Government aims for the legislation to be passed before the end of this year. The date may slip a bit, however, as this is a general election year (elections will probably be called sometime between late July and mid-September) and legislators will be focused on campaigning.

5. (C/NOFORN) Comment: New Zealand's status as a nuclear-free country dwells deep within the national psyche. At the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference now underway in New York, New Zealand has strongly resisted our efforts to highlight nonproliferation as the key focus of the review. Rather, the Kiwis insist that the treaty
concentrate equally on disarmament commitments by the U.S. and other nuclear states. Bilaterally, New Zealand's 1985 anti-nuclear legislation still impedes much military and intelligence cooperation with the United States and contributes to its foreign policy drift away from us. In short, it is often difficult for U.S. officials to deal with
New Zealand's strong opposition to all things nuclear.

6. (C/NOFORN) But there is a bright spot: we have in the past successfully encouraged the Kiwis to engage other countries proactively on nuclear issues in a way that is rare for this unofficially non-aligned country. For example, when New Zealand was on the IAEA Board, the Embassy successfully persuaded NZ officials to demarche Iran on the need to comply with IAEA requirements. If Washington agencies/other posts advise us which APEC countries might benefit from a similar Kiwi approach, Post would be happy to make the request to our
New Zealand counterparts.


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