Nuclear warships on the agenda | The Jackal

24 Jun 2014

Nuclear warships on the agenda

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported on an interview between political editor Audrey Young and Prime Minister John Key after his visit to the White House on Saturday:

Obama said the US-NZ relationship was the strongest it has ever been. Is this as good as it gets?

I think so. I don't see New Zealand going back to invoking Anzus. I think New Zealanders value independent foreign policy. You can make the case [that] Australia has an independent foreign policy and has Anzus, but in New Zealand, I think they would just see it as a step away from us being in total control of the decision-making we have. In a practical sense, some people would point to a ship visit. We didn't ask for that. I don't say it would never happen, because at some point it just seems a natural thing that might happen. But I think it is one of those things that you just let evolve.

John Key seems a bit overly relaxed about US nuclear warships visiting New Zealand.

It's up to them to want to come?

Yes. It's very misunderstood. They don't have to tell us anything. The Prime Minister of the day has to sign the declaration form that says, "I'm confident through whatever means, open sourcing or whatever, that the ship that comes is neither nuclear-powered nor nuclear-armed."

Will some Prime Minister see a ship arrive on their watch?

I suspect so.

Does it matter though?

No. It's just symbolism.

Clearly a nuclear warship visiting New Zealand wouldn't just be symbolic because one of the most important pieces of legislation in New Zealand's history would have to be changed for that to occur. The only other way around the legislation is for the prime minister of the day to effectively lie on the declaration form about whether a warship is nuclear powered or carries nuclear weapons. The US is simply not going to change it's neither confirm nor deny policy.

Such a move wouldn't just be highly unpopular with the general public, it would be seen by other superpowers as a clear indication about what side we're on. This could have very negative implications with our trading partners, particularly China and Russia.

New Zealand is a hugely important strategic position for the US in any global war they might instigate. That's why they reacted so badly when the Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act (PDF) was passed in 1987. It might not be gone by lunchtime, but the current government is incrementally undermining this fine piece of legislation.

Despite overwhelming public opinion the right wing still wants to change this legislation so that nuclear powered or weaponized warships can visit New Zealand.

John Key's statements are clearly designed to try and soften the public up for a change of position that would see New Zealand become less of a world leader and more of a lackey to the United States and their industrial war machine which in many regards still hungers for a global empire.

Considering the public opinion on this matter and the fact that removing our nuclear free legislation would be detrimental to our clean and green image not to mention the economy, National has a long way to go with their propaganda campaign before the public would even contemplate such a stupendously idiotic move. To try and change this legislation now would basically amount to political suicide, which just goes to show how brainwashed Key became on his trip to the US.

By even hinting at nuclear warships visiting New Zealand, National are in fact showing that they have little regard for the people they're meant to represent and far more consideration of the United States' foreign policy. That in itself should see a change in government come September 2014.