National has announced that it will not make any changes to the anti-nuclear legislation, without a referendum.
This is of course no surprise, as Don Brash has been saying for ages that National would make a change only if there was a referendum or by way of explicit election mandate. Goodness knows how a decision not to change your policy is now seen as a flip-flop but according to TVNZ it is.
So why would National choose a referendum route over an explcit election mandate? Two main reasons in my mind. The first is that once in office, one would want to talk to allies to see if the Creech solution would help improve relations. If it will not, then not much point in prceeding further.
The second and more important is that any change needs to be durable and preferably bipartisan. Only a referendum could do that. The one thing the US wants even less than the status quo,is having their ship visits become a regular election issue where they are in, out, in, out etc.
Now some partisan hacks will scream and rant that National will in fact go ahead and change the law anyway, without a referendum. This is of course lunatic raving as anyone of intelligence can work out.
Does anyone really really sensibly think Don Brash having made an explicit, no room for misunderstanding, commitment to make no change without a referendum, would then go ahead and change the law, knowing it would doom him to one term in office. It would not achieve any benefits at all (as such a law change would not survive the government) and only piss off even your own supporters for having broken your word.