Open letter to the President of France on his Government's nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific.

Jim Bolger Prime Minister

Dear President Chirac

I am sending this message to inform you of New Zealand's deep concern at the decision announced last month to resume nuclear testing in the South Pacific. I believe that this decision carries serious consequences for a number of issues of global importance. A primary concern has been that it runs directly counter to the world-wide trend away from the development and use of nuclear weapons and puts at risk all that has been achieved in nuclear disarmament since the end of the Cold War.

It also, I believe, seriously complicates the negotiations already underway in Geneva to achieve a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - a goal to which New Zealand has long attached great importance.

In the South Pacific the sense of outrage is reinforced by a sense of acute disappointment. We thought that with former President Mitterrand’s decision to halt nuclear testing we had put behind us the issue of nuclear states testing their weapons in the Pacific islands region.

Small island nations dependent for their livelihood on the sea find the risk associated with testing unacceptable. Aside from the possibility of accidents there are concerns about the long-term consequences for the marine environment. Countries of the South Pacific are unanimous in their opposition to nuclear testing in the region.

I have accordingly today written to Heads of Government around the world to underline our concerns on this important issue.

Rt. Hon J B Bolger
Prime Minister
New Zealand