Friday, December 01, 2006

Nuclear Free New Zealand

New Zealand will apparently remain nuclear-free should John Key ever become Prime Minister. Yesterday the new National Party Leader swept aside the party’s former uncertainty on the issue.

The issue became a big one in the last election when ex-leader Don Brash said the policy should only change if there was a referendum, and that there wouldn’t be a referendum in National’s first term in government—unless it was necessary for a free-trade deal with the
United States.

It was the adoption of the ban on nuclear powered or armed ships that led the
US to cancel the ANZUS alliance between Australia, NZ and the US. That petulant act steered New Zealand onto an increasingly independent course in world affairs. New Zealand didn’t send soldiers to Iraq, for example.

Key was quoted in the Dominion Post as saying, "My position on the nuclear-free legislation is absolutely crystal clear: For as long as I am leader of the party, that legislation will remain intact.” He went on to say, "I think it's a matter of national identity. I think New Zealanders… see it as
New Zealand standing up strongly for something it believes in. I believe in that position, and I see absolutely no reason to change it."

In the 2005 election, National’s weak and seemingly pro-nuclear policy is one of several issues that led to its defeat. The New Zealand Labour Party, the current party of government, has always been unequivocal that
New Zealand will remain nuclear free.


Kalv1n said...

Good for NZ. I'm glad you guys are not in favor of nukes, if only America could be so...sigh...

Arthur Schenck said...

The nuclear-free policy is one thing many New Zealanders--me included--are most proud of. In talking to ordinary Kiwis, I heard again and again that any attempt to take it away would send them out protesting in the streets. It would seem the new leadership of the National Party gets that--finally!