Espiner on nukes

Colin Espiner blogs:

New Zealand is, according to Key, happy to lend its credentials in support of Obama’s bid to stop nuclear arms from falling into the hands of terrorists.

It’s possibly a bit late for that, and possibly a little hypocritical, given that the US is the only country in the world ever to have used nuclear weapons against other people.

Ummm. Is Colin really equating the US use of nuclear weapons to force a Japanese surrender in WWII, to terrorists using nukes?

If not, then what is the hypocrisy?

Which brings me to my question. What was Sir Geoffrey Palmer doing at the weekend, calling for US navy ships to be allowed back into New Zealand ports? Can we really have our anti-nuclear cake and eat it, too?

The part of me that always felt proud at our nuclear-free stance and the speech David Lange delivered so beautifully all those years ago to the Oxford Union (you remember, the one about “uranium on the breath”) blanched at Sir G’s suggestion.

I don’t see why. Sir Geoffrey was not advocating a change in the law.

So was Sir Geoffrey right after all? As one of the architects of the legislation, it was a big call for him to say it’s time to let bygones be bygones.

But I suspect that such a policy change would be difficult to implement without changing the nuclear free law. For us to accept ship visits we would need to ascertain that they were nuclear-free and to do that they would need to tell us – and I’m pretty sure they never will.

No they do not need to tell us. Section 9(2) of the Act states:

The Prime Minister may only grant approval for the entry into the internal waters of New Zealand by foreign warships if the Prime Minister is satisfied that the warships will not be carrying any nuclear explosive device upon their entry into the internal waters of New Zealand.

That does not mean the PM has to ask about a specific ship. General statements that no surface ships currently carry nuclear weapons can be deemed sufficient to satisfy the PM.

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