Former NZ PM stirs up no-nukes debate




 
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August 13th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 

Topic: Former NZ PM stirs up no-nukes debate


Bolger stirs up no-nukes debate
13 August 2005

Former prime minister Jim Bolger has weighed into the anti-nuclear debate, suggesting it is time the issue was put back on the political agenda.


His comments, which come as National has been thrust on to the back foot over its nuclear stance, throw a further spotlight on what has turned into a heated election-year debate.

They echo those of outgoing United States ambassador Charles Swindells who urged New Zealand to join America around the table for talks about whether the nuclear-free impasse could be resolved.

Mr Bolger, a former National Party leader and New Zealand ambassador to the US, used an export conference in Auckland to raise the nuclear free issue, after lauding former Labour prime minister David Lange for his stand against nuclear weapons.

But Mr Bolger said a distinction existed between nuclear weapons and nuclear propulsion.

The issue has become the major obstacle to closer defence ties with the US.

He later defended his decision to raise the issue.

"If we decide no change is contemplated, no side wants to change, that's fine, let's move on and forget it.

"But at the moment we just dance around the issue and my message to the audience is that no issue should be so sensitive that friends can't talk about it," he said.

Both countries would need to compromise if a way was to be found around the impasse.

A former US State Department official, Kenneth Dam, also used the conference to speak out against the anti-nuclear impasse, saying the global environment had changed since it was imposed 20 years ago.

Restrictions on joint military exercises, in existence since the nuclear ban, stopped the US and New Zealand working together against terrorism threats.

Mr Bolger's intervention will not be welcomed by Labour.

His comments are also unlikely to be welcomed by National, whose conflicting statements have allowed Labour to make its position on the nuclear-free legislation an election issue.

Charles Finny, a former high-ranking Foreign Affairs and Trade official who is now Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce chief executive, accused the Government of "anti-American political posturing" over its attacks on National.

He urged Labour to pull down its billboards targeting Dr Brash over the nuclear issue and military intervention in Iraq, or risk any hope of a free trade agreement with the US.
August 13th, 2005  
MontyB
 
 
I am at a loss as to why this issue keeps coming up, every government and potential government knows that removing or even campaigning to remove that legislation is political suicide.

Basically Bolger is playing into Labours hands by bringing it up and forcing National to comment.

As for the legislations affect on the "war on terror" well quite honestly that is absolute crap, there is no reason at all NZ and US forces cannot cooperate in almost all aspects the only rules on working together are to leave nuclear weapons and powered vessels at home which I dont think is a major deal in reality.
August 13th, 2005  
DTop
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
As for the legislations affect on the "war on terror" well quite honestly that is absolute crap, there is no reason at all NZ and US forces cannot cooperate in almost all aspects the only rules on working together are to leave nuclear weapons and powered vessels at home which I dont think is a major deal in reality.
There is a reason. If I remember correctly as a result of the 1985 nuclear vessel ban, the US reacted by removing New Zealand's ally status and witholding military and intelligence cooperation. Now whether you agree with it or not is another issue
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August 13th, 2005  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DTop
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
As for the legislations affect on the "war on terror" well quite honestly that is absolute crap, there is no reason at all NZ and US forces cannot cooperate in almost all aspects the only rules on working together are to leave nuclear weapons and powered vessels at home which I dont think is a major deal in reality.
There is a reason. If I remember correctly as a result of the 1985 nuclear vessel ban, the US reacted by removing New Zealand's ally status and witholding military and intelligence cooperation. Now whether you agree with it or not is another issue
Yep that is the reason but the reality is that its a pretty sad reason, essentially New Zealand is being pedantic and the US is being petty on this one.
Correct me if I am wrong but the majority of the US navy is neither nuclear powered nor armed these days, the bulk of the US airforce doesnt fly around with nukes bolted to them and certainly isnt nuclear powered and nor does the army so in essence they meet the requirements of New Zealand law therefore some accomodation could be reached but the US has decided its an all or nothing sort of thing.
(Incidently this is all the more laughable as NZ ports are not large enough nor equiped to take the US carriers or Submarines anyway which rules out the bulk of the nuclear powered/armed fleet as I recall).

New Zealand on the hand has used this law to play the rebellious "western nation" much to its detriment I even recall a time when an american squadron of F15s was not allowed here because it was deemed they "could" carry nukes but in reality so could the New Zealand aircraft they were going to fly with so it it all became a bit of a joke.

Having said all that I would vote against changing our anti-nuclear policy as it serves us well economically throughout the world I do however also believe that if both parties actually wanted to work together it could be achieved without either party backing down.
August 13th, 2005  
DTop
 
 
Well, I suppose the same can be said of many of the differences between the countries of the world. Of course, we're talking about politicians here not ordinary people, right?
It's interesting to hear New Zealanders side of the issue though.
August 13th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 
it's something that all NZ'ers seem to extremely proud of. to the point that suggesting a change to our nuke free policy IS political suicide
August 14th, 2005  
Rabs
 
 
Are American destroyers and cruisers nuke powerd?

I know our Carriers and Subs are.
August 14th, 2005  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabs
Are American destroyers and cruisers nuke powerd?

I know our Carriers and Subs are.
As far as I recall they are not.