Did Lange lie?

April 26th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports:

David Lange’s former chief adviser Gerald Hensley has come to the conclusion that the former Prime Minister lied about his early involvement in the anti-nuclear crisis that gripped the fourth Labour Government.

Well he was either incompetent, or lied. Maybe both.

But the bigger shock for Mr Hensley came during research for the book. He said not only had Mr Lange told colleagues he had known nothing about the Buchanan until he had returned from Tokelau but he also told some that it had all been the work of Mr Hensley, Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Mr Hensley said the discovery made him feel “a bit sad”.

“I mean, I like David, still, you might say against some of the evidence.

“He was such a warm, humorous, human man and I knew that he embroidered things, altered them round to make a better story, but I hadn’t actually thought of him being an actual liar.

“But I’m afraid you really can’t use any other word for this. It was a conscious lie to protect himself in the debacle that followed the collapse of the Buchanan visit. And I was a bit shocked.”

If Lange said he was unaware of the Buchanan invite, it was a clear lie.

Margaret Pope, initially Mr Lange’s chief speechwriter, wrote to a newspaper in 1994 saying the PM had not known about the Buchanan until he got back from Tokelau, but she had since acknowledged that was not so.

Of course he knew. Officials don’t invite ships without the approval of the Prime Minister.

Mr Hensley, Ms Pope and Sir Geoffrey Palmer will appear on The Nation, TV3, tomorrow at 9.30am.

That could be interesting.

Australia on ANZUS

January 1st, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Greg Ansley at NZ Herald reports on some interesting Australian views during the US and NZ stand off on nuclear ships.

“Several Nato and Asean countries have said to us that, while disturbed by New Zealand’s policies, they regard the Americans as having over-reacted and as running the risk of creating a ‘laager’ mentality in New Zealand,” it said.

This is basically correct. The NZ policy was wrong, yet the US reaction was over the top.

Canberra did not accept New Zealand’s belief that it was not affected by a global superpower threat and that regional security did not require a nuclear capability.

With more than 40 per cent of its combat ships nuclear-powered – and “almost all would assuredly be nuclear-capable” – the US could not be expected to maintain two navies, one for global security and another for regional stability.

A fair view.

The Cabinet was reminded that the (former) Soviet Union was trying to gain a foothold in the Pacific and had turned New Zealand’s policies to its propaganda advantage.

The USSR was delighted by the anti-nuclear policy. It weakened the western alliance, and gave them hope the West would crumble. As it turned out, it was the USSR which crumbled as it was unable to keep pace with the West.

The US ship ban ends

September 22nd, 2012 at 8:16 am by David Farrar

This is a significant move by the United States.  Claire Trevett reports:

In a key shift, the United States is lifting a ban on New Zealand navy vessels visiting US ports, and will remove obstacles to defence talks and exercises.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the shifts in policy after talks with Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman in Auckland today.

Mr Panetta said the restrictions would be lifted in the interests of closer defence cooperation in the Asia Pacific.

Neither side will change their stance on US ship visits to New Zealand, but Mr Panetta said the restrictions had been in place since the suspension of Anzus. He believed removing them could be made without affecting core tenets of US policy.

Currently waivers are required before New Zealand can take part in exercises or talks with the US.

Mr Panetta said the changes signified a “new era” in the relationship.

The ban had become somewhat farcical considering  that NZ and US troops were serving together in Afghanistan and the like. The silliness which saw the NZ ship have to park down the road from Pearl Harbour, while Japanese ships could dock, illustrated this.

Mr Panetta said he expected to see a New Zealand Navy vessel in a US port soon but it was up to New Zealand when that happened.

“While we acknowledge our countries continue to have differences of opinion in limited areas, today we have acknowledged we are embarking on a new course in our relationship that will not let those differences stand in the way of greater engagement on security issues.”

I expect we will see a NZ ship in a US port, and then a US ship in a NZ port. The vast majority of the US fleet has neither nuclear arms nor power.