SINGAPORE (AP) _ Despite its anti-nuclear legislation, New Zealand wants to cooperate with the West in defense matters, New Zealand's Defense Minister Frank O'Flynn said today.

Addressing officials of countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, O'Flynn said, ''Our policies are not damaging to the security of the region in which we live, nor are they harmful to the overall security. New Zealand remains willing to engage in defense and security cooperation in the general Western interest.''

The United States has criticized New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy, which in effect bans U.S. warships from New Zealand ports. The United States, Australia and New Zealand are partners of the ANZUS defense pact.

Secretary of State George Shultz, who attended the ASEAN meeting here, left Singapore today for Australia, where he was expected to confer with Australian officials about ANZUS, among other subjects.