Prime Minister John Key, leader of a country committed to anti-nuclear policies, said on Tuesday he will quickly sell his shares in a mining company with uranium interests.
Asked by reporters about the shareholding, Key said he was unaware that the former Australian gold mining company Jackson Minerals had merged last year with Scimitar Resources to form Cauldron Energy.
The group has numerous uranium exploration projects in Australia and Argentina. Raw uranium ore can be refined into fuel rods for use in nuclear reactors that produce electric power.
New Zealand has no nuclear reactors and has laws that ban nuclear weapons from its territory and the use of nuclear energy to generate power, a policy Key's center-right government supports and one that has strained relations with the United States for 25 years.
Key said when he bought the Jackson Minerals shares in 2001 it had been just a gold mining company, and at that time he had been a large shareholder. Since then, he said, he has sold most of his shares.
Key told reporters that the remaining shares would be disposed of today or tomorrow.