New Zealand anti-nuclear politician dies

Other News Materials 11 April 2008 11:20 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Fraser Colman, a New Zealand politician who captured world headlines 35 years ago when he sailed in a navy ship on the world's first government-sponsored ban-the-bomb protest against French atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific, died on Friday, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced.

Colman was a cabinet minister selected by then prime minister Norman Kirk to sail on the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate Otago to the French site at Mururoa in 1973 to draw world attention to the tests.

France and China were then the only nuclear powers still testing in the atmosphere, the others having moved their programmes underground.

Colman had five weeks at sea on the Otago, which witnessed a test, and then transferred to a replacement ship, spending much of the time in the wireless room explaining his country's opposition to nuclear tests in calls from radio stations, newspapers and agencies around the world.

"The presence of the frigates with a cabinet minister on board attracted considerable international attention, and was part of the international pressure which forced the French nuclear testing programme underground," Clark said.

Colman, who was 83, is survived by his wife and three daughters.