Stupid US

July 5th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

Petty, petulant and pathetic. What other conclusion is it possible to draw from the absurd, vindictive and ultimately short-sighted refusal by the military to allow two New Zealand naval vessels to berth at the Pearl Harbour military base?

Having invited New Zealand to participate in the Rimpac exercises off Hawaii for the first time in nearly three decades, the Pentagon then slaps this country in the face by making the frigate Te Kaha and the refuelling ship Endeavour tie up at civilian port facilities in Honolulu.

They invite us. and then say we have to park down the road. Some Pentagon bozo should receive a visit from Hillary Clinton and told to pull their head in.

John Key should have ignored the diplomatic niceties and gone with gut feeling. He should have pointed out that resolving the impasse has not come without cost for New Zealand. A terse brief statement including the words “New Zealand”, “Afghanistan” and “sacrifice” would have not have gone amiss.

Key has to be diplomatic, but it does piss me off that we do have soldiers fighting and dying in Afghanistan. and the USG is fixated on an almost 30 year old issue.

This tawdry episode smells very much like the revenge of the United States Navy, the branch of the American military machine most affected by New Zealand’s ban on nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered warships and consequently the one most averse to resolving the subsequent two decades-plus stand-off.

The berthing ban is even more ridiculous given other Rimpac participants include Japan which almost destroyed the American Pacific fleet based at Pearl Harbour some 70 years ago. 

Exactly.

I know Ambassador Huebner is the US representative to New Zealand, and not vice-versa. I do hope however he reports back on how insensitive the US decision was, and counter-productive.

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65 Responses to “Stupid US”

  1. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    Why blame the US navy for a soviet inspired,Labour implemented policy that is rabidly adhered to by our media?

    Time for NZ to get over it.

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  2. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    This is a navy issue and they say if we ban their ships they will ban ours. The dispute over the nuclear legislation has narrowed down to a petty dispute over port access

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  3. peterwn (3,276 comments) says:

    They dis something like that in San Diego some years back. When the NZ Americas Cup team was there a NZ TV crew filmed a series of documentaries about San Diego and its attractions (including Tijuana just over the border). The approached the Naval authorities to do a piece on the US Navy there and were told where to stick it. The US Navy basically blew a great PR opportunity

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  4. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Perhaps they would have let us berth a nuclear-powered vessel, if we’d taken one?

    Simple point, it is sensible that our militaries now work together and train together etc. Rules that meant we could fight together but not train together were stupid and counter-productive, but it seems entirely reasonable that if we don’t allow US ships into New Zealand Ports, they shouldn’t let New Zealand ships into US ports. It may be the one long-standing consequence, and it is eminently proportional.

    The berthing ban is even more ridiculous given other Rimpac participants include Japan which almost destroyed the American Pacific fleet based at Pearl Harbour some 70 years ago.

    Japan allows US ships to visit them. The US reciprocates.

    he USG is fixated on an almost 30 year old issue.

    Unlike New Zealand, which has put its opposition to the visit of US naval vessels to New Zealand to bed?

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  5. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    It is still just as Lange said:

    Because you live under the “beneficial shadow” of the bomb whether you like it or not, you must do as your “friends” say or be ostracised by them. Hang on, isn’t this exactly the kind of totalitarianism the west is supposed to be against?

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  6. Brian Marshall (202 comments) says:

    It’s unacceptable to expect the US to not abridge their sovereignty like this. If they don’t let us park our naval vessels in their military ports, we should abandon our Nuclear free legislation.
    If they still don’t give in, we should insist that they build a military base here in New Zealand. That will teach them good.

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  7. tom hunter (4,894 comments) says:

    Perhaps the title of the thread would be more accurate if it read “Stupid USN” ?

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  8. Jim (398 comments) says:

    “fixated on an almost 30 year old issue.”

    When did NZ decide to forget about its own posturing on that issue?

    So, if we really want to insult the US then we should only let their vessels into our civilian ports?

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  9. Kleva Kiwi (289 comments) says:

    Dosnt this have more to do with a contradition between two nations laws?
    US laws stipulates they will not disclose if thier naval ships are carrying nuclear weapons or not, and NZ law stipulates that other nations must tell us if they are or are not? Therefore under our law our ship cannot berth at the same docks, or something along those lines. I could be totally of course but thats how I understood it
    If this is the case, then its our law that is retarded, as it is reasonable from the US standpoint to niether confirm nor deny nuclear weapons for security reasons.

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  10. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    This is such a non-event.
    The USA is a sovereign state and can set her own policies as we do.
    There’s nothing stupid about their decision, it was a compromise, we couldn’t be in the military area so were put in the commercial area.
    It fitted with both our constitutional positions on the matter and the real state of our relationship.
    The US Ambassador has nothing to apologize for on behalf of the USA.

    If we want to park our boats in their military area then we have to change our position.
    How hard is this to understand?

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  11. Yvette (2,824 comments) says:

    Could save us from loosing about our the entire New Zealand Navy if the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbour again.
    Key has to be diplomatic.
    Yes, but he could still have subtly offered them a DVD copy of TORA TORA TORA or that other movie starring Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale.

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  12. Andrei (2,664 comments) says:

    NZ, of course, is not so petty – US Navy vessels are warmly welcomed when they tie up in Devonport?

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  13. mudrunner (91 comments) says:

    So we will welcome US Navy vessels into NZ with a shambles of Greenpeace, Green Party, rubber ducky flotillas all over the place.

    US has made clear the ships are nuclear free. It remainsthat rabid anti-Americanism with global publicity reflecting odorously on NZ will accompany any visit here.

    Park the NZ ships where we are told to and don’t expect anything else yet.

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  14. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Such a non issue. And DPF, its not 30 years old, its current, or did I miss that nuclear sub in Auckland Harbour this week?

    Frankly, good on the US. We tell them they cant come here, they tell us where to park – at least they let us play!

    And, as noted elsewhere by smarter people than myself, where TK will / is moored is a hop and skip from the local Hooters restaurant. That will do more for NZ & US relations than any amount of bleating by vacuous pollies.

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  15. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    Just like a typical lefty, NZ’s policy here seems to be ‘we want the benefits without the responsibility’.

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  16. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    Yawn. Sorry what was the issue again?

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  17. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    SO, we’re happy to let USA ships in to our ports then? IT WAS US (not U.S.) WHO INITIATED THE BAN.

    This NZ faux shock horror is a bit rich. Now we know how the USA felt /feels as our ban is still in place.

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  18. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    Where would we let them park a carrier?

    we are lucky to be there.

    as for afghanistan – doing our bit against terrorism now constitutes a favour to the US? we shirk most of our defence responsibilities. if anything ever happened we would run to the US like the whiny little bitches we are.

    NZ is one arrogant country living in freakin la la land

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  19. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    You have no nukes, they don’t like it.

    You build some nukes, they don’t like it.

    Ficklety, thy name is woman US foreign policy

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  20. Don the Kiwi (1,763 comments) says:

    Any opportunity to bash the US – those big mean Americans.

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  21. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ dime

    Exactly.

    (Noting that our Defence personnel aren’t afraid of a fight if they were allowed to.)

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  22. Don the Kiwi (1,763 comments) says:

    This is purely political.
    Americans are very happy to have Kiwis alongside them in a conflict.

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  23. Jim (398 comments) says:

    “This is purely political.”

    Exactly. NZ’s anti-nuclear stance is about as principled as a PETA supporter wearing Birkenstocks and whale bone carving.

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  24. Lance (2,662 comments) says:

    This is poor judgement from the US Navy.

    The US is clearly wanting more influence in the Pacific region to counter China’s growing influence here and despite some scoffing around this blog NZ is a significant influence especially amoungst the numerous pacific islands.
    Easy to ignore or carry on the petty minor retaliation when a country doesn’t matter but things are different now.

    They are entitled to carry on like this on their own turf but it doesn’t appear to be very smart under the circumstances.

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  25. wiseowl (899 comments) says:

    As long as we have a stupid anti nuclear stance then don’t be surprised by this type of reaction.

    It’s us that need to admit current policy is stupid leftist feel good rubbish.

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  26. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    wiseowl (116) Says:
    July 5th, 2012 at 11:31 am
    As long as we have a stupid anti nuclear stance then don’t be surprised by this type of reaction.

    It’s us that need to admit current policy is stupid leftist feel good rubbish.

    Its called democracy old chum. Fucking inconvenient but the majority of New Zealanders support the current laws.

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  27. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    lance is right. the US needs us more than we need them. LMAO

    arrogant kiwis forgetting our place in the world.

    we may have influence in the pacific at the moment. but the aussies and yanks can fix that pretty quickly.

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  28. wiseowl (899 comments) says:

    Let’s have a vote on it again then.

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  29. tom hunter (4,894 comments) says:

    You have no nukes, they don’t like it.

    That would be a cute little barb were it not for the fact that the USN has not carried nuclear weapons on its surface ships for two decades now, by order of their Commander in Chief, the US President. So apparently the USN does not like them either. Of course there is still their “neither confirm no deny” policy, but that could surely be treated as the obvious fiction it is.

    Given that, the National government could resolve this problem yesterday and US Navy vessels could once more enter our ports, and this has support even from people such as Paul Buchanan – no friend of National or the right in general. But National refuse to even contemplate this because they don’t want to deal with the screams that would emanate from Campbell Live and Morning Report for months on end.

    In short, National have no confidence in their ability to win an argument that’s already 95% won by changed circumstances, which should tell you everything you need to know about their debating capabilities and intestinal fortitude.

    This is poor judgement from the US Navy.

    True, because – among other negatives – it means my scenario above is pushed even further away. Were National to change now the left-wing screams would be amplified by the argument that Key had given in to “bullying”.

    On the other hand the USN may have simply given up on diplomatic argument, as 11 of the 20 years that have passed since the removal of nuclear weapons from USN surface vessels, have seen National-led governments.

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  30. DavidR (102 comments) says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that the ban was on nuclear armed & powered ships entering NZ ports and the reason that the US navy doesn’t come here was because they refused to define if their ships were nuclear or not.

    They effectively banned themselves.

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  31. cubit (356 comments) says:

    The USN have felt seriousiy aggreived since 1985. The US Army don’t really care but have always tried hard to work around things particularly when we act together on the ground. In fact a number of senior US officers over the yeas have Ben pulled up for not playing the game with NZ. The USAF probably don’t care because in reality virtually no other Air Force can really interoperate with the Yanks. Talk to the RAF or RAAF about the problems and they are the closest of allies and friends.

    At the end of the day we were too smart and they don’t care. So what? It will only matter and be worked around when it really does matter. E.g Op Deep Freeze, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan and anything in the SW Pacific that means the US don,t need to get involved.

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  32. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    New Zealand pooped in its bed and now it has to sleep in it.

    Be grateful for the crumbs the USA throws your way. No free trade agreement for you.

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  33. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    This whole story is a media beat up of the highest order.

    It is being used by the political left to point out that the US is still being mean to us. Lets get some FACTS.

    Firstly, berthed next to the Te Kaha is a US NAVY FRIGATE. Do you think the US snubbed that ship as well? The US Navy has been very welcoming and accommodating to the RNZN and its personnel. The RNZN has full access to all USN R&R facilities. There is a basketball tournament among all navies currently at Pearl. The RNZN beat the crew of the USS Cheyenne in the first round. The USS Cheyenne is a nuclear powered attack sub.

    Wherever they go, the crew has been welcomed. The ship is berthed 300 meters from Hooters bar. The crew, obviously, is stoked. Anyone who has been to Honolulu will tell you the facilities in and around the Naval Base are not as welcoming to a foreign visitor as downtown Honolulu.

    RNZN personnel have visited the Arizona memorial and the USS Missouri in Pearl. They visited in uniform. They did not have to pay, and were given special access guided tours of the Missouri. I can tell you that the crew has been made to feel welcome beyond their expectations.

    Some people are reading far too much into where the ship is parked. I know all this as I have a relative on one of the NZ Navy ships, and he cannot speak highly enough of the treatment he and his fellow servicemen have received.

    We need to stop reading into circumstances things that don’t exist.

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  34. tom hunter (4,894 comments) says:

    We need to stop reading into circumstances things that don’t exist.

    Very interesting slightlyrighty, so thank you for that.

    What your information also means is that right-winger bloggers in NZ need to stop buying into these left-wing media beat ups. Unless you’re Martin Bradbury and the readers of The Dim Post, for whom John Armstrong is a National Party apologist.

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  35. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Thanks Tom.

    The relative I referred to has posted on this forum in the past. I have spoken to him about the reports in this country and he thinks it’s hilarious how the media here have got the story so completely fucked up. If this treatment amounts to a snub, then I want to be snubbed more often.

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  36. KevinH (1,229 comments) says:

    It’s quite possibly a storm in a teacup over Kiwi ships docking at a civilian wharf, nothing at all to do with a perceived snub. More than likely it’s a lack of space available at Pearl Harbour and the fact that the Endeavour is carrying fuel and therefore is a potential fire hazard.
    The US Navy has a website devoted to Rimpac and New Zealand gets a mention as having rejoined the alliance after a long absence.:http://www.cpf.navy.mil/.
    So my view is that the Herald and John Armstrong are misreading the situation.

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  37. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    A symptom of out of control Govt. Departments.

    Best friends but you can’t come inside the fence when you come to our BBQ. We will hand you sausages over the fence.

    Key should do that to their ambassador. I bloody would the useless pricks.

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  38. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    On the other hand RIMPAC sounds like it will be a lot of fun

    http://bairdmaritime.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13153:us-navy-to-resume-sinking-old-ships&catid=73&Itemid=65

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  39. MikeMan (172 comments) says:

    Ahhh the nice balanced NZ media strike again :)

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  40. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    It is possible that nuclear weapons did come into NZ -Wellington.
    HMS Invincible came in after the Falklands scurmish with the Argies.
    She did not have anything nuclear on her or her aircraft, and moored in the harbour.
    But, she was attended quietly by two fleet carriers who berthed downtown.
    What do fleet carriers carry ?

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  41. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Hey – OECD rank 22 kiwi, shouldn’t you change your name?

    NZ is now rank 21 (PPP), or rank 20(exchange rate) on GDP/cap in the OECD.

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  42. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ‘What do fleet carriers carry?’

    Fleets?

    Seriously though, the UK did not have any fleet carriers in 1982.

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  43. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Actually, Invincible was tied up alongside the OPT from memory. I remember visiting the ship. While waiting to go onboard, a protester shouted at me “How can you go on that ship!!!” I suggested she join the queue. It was not well received,

    USS Truxtun did however anchor in the Harbour in 1982.

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  44. Jim (398 comments) says:

    “Hey – OECD rank 22 kiwi [...] NZ is now rank 21″

    Woohoo! NZ is on the way up! Thanks Greece!

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  45. Lance (2,662 comments) says:

    I remember the graffiti on the Wellington waterfront at the time
    “Truck off Fuxtun”

    Pity the rest was all humuorless leftist conspiracy theorist crap

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  46. Harriet (4,979 comments) says:

    Dime & Superhero @

    “…The berthing ban is even more ridiculous given other Rimpac participants include Japan which almost destroyed the American Pacific fleet based at Pearl Harbour some 70 years ago…”

    I agree with both of you and I might also add –

    Japan at least had the balls to take them on – NZ -under Labour- simply told them to fuck off.

    And the US Navy should keep telling NZ to fuck off.

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  47. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Of course, for you conspiracy theorists out there, some people believe that Invincible could not have visited Wellington in 1983 as she was sunk by the Argentinians during the war. This was covered up by the UK government, which passed HMS Illustrious off as her sister carrier until a ‘new’ Invincible could be constructed in secret.

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  48. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    Anti-nuclear ban? Pffttt. Hippie stufff outdated decades ago.

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  49. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    Fleet Carriers carry aircraft Invincible is a fleet carrier and I think Hermes also a fleet carrier was the Flag ship in the war. The ” fleet carriers” that attended Invincible were most likely resupply or oilers.

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  50. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I thought a fleet carrier was heavier and Hermes and Invincible were light carriers. Interesting to not that the UK was only weeks away from having insufficient carriers to mount a task force when the Argentinians seized the Falklands.

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  51. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Invincible was classed as a through deck anti-submarine cruiser. There were plans to build 2 fleet carriers for the RN but those plans were shelved and the invincible class class altered to carry harrier attack aircraft with the addition of a ramp.

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  52. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    I am late to the conversation and have just scanned the thread, but I do not think that this is a diplomatic issue. The USN controls the military side of the harbor and the harbormaster is a USN officer. Given space constraints due to the excess of foreign grey hulls participating in RIMPAC berthing in the harbor, the call was made to send the Te Kaha to the civilian side along with other naval vessels. If the harbormaster was very senior and remembered the non-nuclear issue, then the decision to send the Te Kaha to the civilian side (300 meters from Hooters, apparently) was more a jab at the Defense Department than at NZ (in that DoD may not have consulted with the USN about berthing implications of the decision to invite NZ to participate in RIMPAC). More likely is a scenario where a USN 0-6, not thinking about NZ non-nukes but thinking about space and possibly not offending the Russians (who have a boat in the exercise that berthed on the military side), made the call on practical rather than political grounds (size of vessels, overall displacement, force security requirements, willingness to conduct public tours etc.). Had the PRC participated and one of its been vessels sent to the tourist terminal instead of the naval base, then that would have been the stuff of diplomatic argument. This is not.

    Which makes this a tempest in a teapot. Having said that, I thought the PM, while correct in downplaying the issue, could have phrased his response a little better. The fact is that at present the non-nuke decision and its sequels are more of a NZ fixation than a US concern.

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  53. Longknives (4,766 comments) says:

    “Anti-nuclear ban? Pffttt. Hippie stufff outdated decades ago.”

    Well said that man..

    “if anything ever happened we would run to the US like the whiny little bitches we are.
    NZ is one arrogant country living in freakin la la land”

    And well said that man…

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  54. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    “if anything ever happened we would run to the US like the whiny little bitches we are.
    NZ is one arrogant country living in freakin la la land”

    Well you might but I like to have friends I can trust.

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  55. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I still love the conundrum in our politics, where one party would die before sacrificing the no-nukes policy, while the other hates it, but lacks the courage to make a change.

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  56. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    While looking at the aircraft carrier stuff, I saw that the UK is building two super carriers – excellent stuff, a step change in capability. Hard to imagine the Argentinians having a go at those.

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  57. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I got halfway thru the responses to this blog post and had an “Oh Fer”, moment. As in, Oh Fer Fucks sake. have none of you played Risk ? That’s rhetorical.
    I’m assuming that at least75% of us have and half of that number have Settlers of Catan on the bookshelf. One reliable risk strategy is to come up through Asia as Australia has only to borders.
    It’s very much a strategic issue, just as it always was.In any confrontation in the PACIFIC, we’ve got to be relied on or sidelined. It’s a message to the UN.
    I hear what you are saying slightlyrighty but if all the implications of the berthing situation hadn’t been chewed over extensively, I’d be very surprised. JK admitted as much that it was foreseen.
    So close to signing the Wellington Declation, this is a deliberate strategic ploy. Jonathan coleman had only just signed the Wellington Declaration. A minister of Defense is going to know exactly where his expensive ships are going to be parked. It would be remiss not to have the GPS plot points for every part part of the deployment.
    New Zealand is being asked for some indication of who we are allied with.
    Where we are looking 30 years in the future for Superanuation, the states is looking at Defence in 30 years plus. We are a concern. We’re effectively rogue and this is an attempt to re-iterate what’s at risk. We’re in similar company:
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/4/inside-china-china-upset-over-rimpac-snub/

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  58. jeremyn (18 comments) says:

    Mark: Unfortunately, these are exactly the people who need to be lit up by the brightness of a thousand suns. New Zealanders are as far down in the depths of know-nothing touchy-feely thought as say, U.S. women.

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  59. Flyingkiwi9 (54 comments) says:

    We should change our anti-nuclear stance now. This will relieve pressure on JK asset sales as it will give the left something else to protest about. Then the U.S. can strategically come and park one of those carriers in Wellington Harbour for a few minutes just to show how the real world works and how pathetic some of our country is.

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  60. Lucy (32 comments) says:

    The anti-nuclear stance is outdated and unnecessary. On this issue it’s easy. We don’t let American ships dock in our port (most of them are nuclear powered). They don’t let us dock in theirs. If we were to let them in, they would let us in. Seriously, guys – what is it about diplomacy that is so hard to understand?????

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  61. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    Sorry Lucy, but other than carrier and subs all USN vessels are non-nuclear. Some subs carry strategic or tactical nukes, some carriers may carry tactical nukes to be deployed on airborne platforms, and some frigates and destroyers are equipped to deploy surface to surface and ASW nuclear munitions, but the majority of the USN fleet is at present non-nuclear most of the time. The issue is basically a face-saving standoff: For domestic political reasons NZ wants explicit assurances that any USN visit be non-nuclear, while the US holds fast to its “neither confirm or deny” nuke-on-board policy because it could confirm to adversaries the means and areas in which such are deployed (or not). The bottom line is that the USN could send a tender, tanker, or SeaBee support vessel to NZ ports with absolutely no issue with regards to nukes, but the face=saving standoff prevents it or the Coast Guard from doing so. Of course, the issue of USN and other countries’ nuclear subs patrolling in NZ waters is a moot point because the NZDF ASW capability–P3’s notwithstanding– is not up to the task of detecting such intrusions. And even if and when such intrusions are detected, it would be too diplomatically sensitive to be made public. That helps explain why this berthing “row” in Pearl Harbor is a non-issue.

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  62. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Dear Little NZ is throwing its toys out of the cot again !

    What part of the No Nukes ban do we not understand ??

    We wrote the Law and now we complain about its outcome!

    Politics 101 – Change the law = Change the outcome

    I would say its “Hoist with your own petard”!

    Why doesnt JK ditch the outdated fossil of a Law created by Herr Helen Clark and cronys when they first started experimenting with Politics and found that Lange could be manipulated so effortlessly.

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  63. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler says on July 5th, 2012 at 1:08 pm:

    Hey – OECD rank 22 kiwi, shouldn’t you change your name?

    I like to keep my name as a memorial to the Fifth Labour Government and their “achievements”. That’s the New Zealand I’ll always remember when I quit it.

    At least Bill English will be able to put one feather in his cap. Congrats Bill.

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  64. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ‘Why doesnt JK ditch the outdated fossil of a Law’
    Why would the government be so bold on that issue when it lacks the courage of its alleged conviction in so, so many other areas?
    ‘At least Bill English will be able to put one feather in his cap.’
    I didn’t know he was responsible for the Greek financial crisis. Now all he needs to do is engineer similar meltdowns in Spain and Italy and we will leap two more places. What a guy. Hope he has a big cap for all those feathers.

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  65. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Perhaps it is time National brought up the subject and asked the question publically of its relevance espescially when the Somers report concluded that-
    “more nuclear radiation was emitted from Auckland Hospital on a single day than was emitted by the US Navy in a whole year”

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