web analytics

Nuke free US ships already welcome

Written By: - Date published: 6:13 pm, April 10th, 2010 - 13 comments
Categories: defence, us politics - Tags: ,

Geoffrey Palmer needs a holiday. It’s bad enough that he’s acting as the mouthpiece for John Key’s pro-whaling policy that has the Japanese applauding and our allies shaking their heads in dismay. Now, he’s saying we should encourage visits by US naval vessels.

‘What’s so dumb about that?’ you may ask. Well, the US navy is welcome now, if they are willing to pledge that the ships they send are nuclear-free in keeping with our anti-nuclear legislation.

Here’s why US ships can’t visit New Zealand. It’s not because we banned all US ships, it’s because we banned ones that the US wouldn’t confirm are nuclear-free.

After the anti-nuke legislation was passed, the US asked permission for the Buchanan to visit us. The advice to the government was that the Buchanan was from a conventionally-powered class and unlikely to be equipped with nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, the government quite rightly asked the US to confirm that the Buchanan would not be nuclear-equipped. They refused to do so.

Now, what were we supposed to do? Let in a ship from a nuclear power that opposed our anti-nuke policy when that power wouldn’t promise that the ship was nuclear-free? Even though the odds of the Buchanan having nuclear weapons on board were low why should we have to make that assumption? If the US refuses to confirm or deny which ships are nuke-equipped, well good for them, but they can’t come here in that case.

If the US wants to send navy ships for a visit (and I’m not quite sure what anyone really gets out of that, the days of the Great White Fleet are long gone) then all it has to do is what other nuclear powers like the UK do: confirm that the vessels it sends don’t breach our country’s laws.

Is that too much to ask?


13 comments on “Nuke free US ships already welcome”

  1. Zorr 1

    Agreed. Is it too much to ask that an ally treats us as such rather than as a frenemy. I can’t imagine the war that we fight where we are opposing them – unless they give birth to the next populist mass murdering sociopathic leader.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Worked that out ages ago. Figured that the only reason NZ needed a navy was to watch fishing vessels in our EEC. Anything other than that and the ships are little more than targets for things like this. The same applies to aircraft.

      If we want to defend this country then we should be researching and developing our own* long range missiles. They’re reasonably cheap and very very effective.

      * It’s difficult to import through hostile territory

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    The US Navy is the one stonewalling on this. Partly because they are practically a law unto themselves as regards the Pacific Command run out of Hawaii and because of their semi secret breaking of the ‘no nukes’ constitution of Japan.
    We all know that surface ships , apart from aircraft carriers no longer carry nuclear weapons, this being stated by the President. However they dont wont ( still) to confirm or deny in relation to individual ships – in case the President makes a secret policy change or the Navy as it has allways done , suits itself.
    Most likely to come would be a amphibous vessel carry say 300-600 US Marines, as they need port vists more so than the ordinary crews. No nukes as they are mainly troop transports ( with some helicopters).
    Changes of this – not likely unless Obama cracks some heads. But he has bigger issues, so the Pacific Command head continues to run the show

  3. prism 4

    Yes I was surprised to hear him say that we should change policy to allow US ships into our ports – I would have thought he would know that we only ever wanted to keep nuclear powered or weaponed ships out. The US didn’t want to be up front and honest about which were or not, and refused to advise so forcing us to deny entry.
    Lots of disrespect to us as smaller country. And iron determination to conduct dangerous strategic maneouvres. Compare to the treatment and checks that we endure individually when we set foot on their ground now.

    • prism 4.1

      Further – can’t edit my original post – should read ‘And iron determination by USA to conduct dangerous strategic maneouvres.”

      [lprent: It is off because it occasionally sends someone else’s edits out of the cache. I’m trying to figure what is going on in my test setup. In the meantime it is off. ]

  4. Jim Nald 5

    He was the Labour PM in 1989/1990. What is the Labour Party’s position now?

    Is he speaking for the Left, the Labour Party, John Key … or for himself?

    Interesting public statements he has been making lately. Are these manifestations of a late-onset mid-life crisis?

  5. From TVNZ citing of NZPA article: “Palmer says that ship visits from the US are “desirable”, if they conform with New Zealand law.
    Under New Zealand legislation, the Prime Minister has to approve the fact that any warship that comes in is not carrying any nuclear explosive device, and is not nuclear-powered.
    “I’m not suggesting that that be changed,” he says.”

    About time you guys smartened up a bit: this post seems quite off-centre from my reading of the news story. On a par with yesterday’s posting about Winston’s massive leap in the polls.
    How about a bit more muscle and sinew in the debate?

    • r0b 6.1

      Top right hand side of every page is a fetching green button marked “contribute post”…

      • lprent 6.1.1

        Which currently is missing its form. Due back in a couple of days.

        Been writing plugins and optimizing all weekend (since we won’t be on a new server for a wee while at the rate we’re going).

  6. Pascal's bookie 7

    Key ‘s unexpected meeting at the White House forced him to leave for Washington early, he flies in from San Francisco, where he has been holidaying, just hours ahead of the meeting and is also scheduled to meet US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

    Bloody Whitehouse intruding on smile and wave’s lifestyle options again.

  7. Don 8

    “From TVNZ citing of NZPA article: “Palmer says that ship visits from the US are “desirable’, if they conform with New Zealand law.
    Under New Zealand legislation, the Prime Minister has to approve the fact that any warship that comes in is not carrying any nuclear explosive device, and is not nuclear-powered.
    “I’m not suggesting that that be changed,’ he says.'”

    I saw Palmer being interviewed on TV and he pretty much stated the current position. Sort of expect TV to manufacture dissent for their News at six, but haven’t you got better things to do than echo it?

  8. RobertM 9

    The USN still has 25 odd quarter century old FFG-7 frigates floating around the Pacific visiting nations that are less than allies, eg |Vietnam and its difficult to know why these old tubs did not make a good will visit to NZ long ago. Their largely disarmed their standard missiles being removed long ago. The same goes for the many USCG cutters which are defacto frigates. Most of the comment on this nuclear issue fails to differentiate sufficiently. Fundamentally their are two kinds of nuclear submarines, the ones that fire strategic long rang e intercontinental missiles and the ones that hunt the ballistic missile submarines. A number of hunter killer nuke submarines did visit NZ in l983 -84 Queenfish, Phoenix and in l960 a nuclear armed cruise missile sub the |Halibut visited invited by one Walter Nash. Government information on the US military vessels that visited NZ is rather incomplete. In l981 one of the United States most modern guided missile anti submarine destroyers of the Spruance class visited the USN oldendorf visited Timaru but that was listed. Some sort of US icebreaker made a short stop in Timaru in Jan 2005. Between 1965 and 1968 two USN destroyers were based in Dunedin for most of these years making numerous port calls. Given these picket destroyers were also required for aircraft direction and operation market time off Vietnam, remained active to 1973 and played a key role in the Cuban missile crisis their roles deserve more study- particularly given they by the mid l960s had radar and electronic surveillance equipment with ranges of 800km their presence as with the purchase of the \\\\\\\\\\orions partly related to the need to cover the potential for Russian and Chinese missile strikes against Australain installations. Obviously ship visits will not resume soon because of increasing tensiion over past nuclear ship visits to Japan and because NZ went a step furthur in passing its nuclear stand into legislation that empowers the NZ Govt to make emphatic declerations about the type of armament of a warship which to the Americans is a security breach. But yes whatever Act claims we were visited by nuclear submarines and nuclear aircraft carriers and to pharaphase Trotsky we havent seen the last of either war or nuclear powered warships. Unfortunately.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • Time for Paula Bennett to front up on HNZ P Fiasco
      Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett needs to rein in Housing NZ and sort out the mess that’s been created by the organisation’s misuse of methamphetamine testing procedures, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    7 hours ago
  • A charge on plastic bags – debunking some myths
    The launch of my Members’ Bill last week, which would introduce a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags at the check-out, has generated a lot of comment on mainstream and social media. From The Paul Henry Show at the ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • National’s $1trillion property sandcastle
    The National government's failure to fix the housing crisis has seen the ballooning and unsustainable property market touch the $1 trillion mark, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. "Labour wants an economy that creates high wage work that is based ...
    2 days ago
  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    3 days ago
  • International embarrassment for NZ likely over National’s failure to protect Maui dolphin
    New Zealanders who care about Maui dolphin should prepare to feel embarrassed: the Government is about to be put to shame on the international stage for its lack of action to protect Maui’s dolphin. The International Whaling Commissions’ 66th Biennial ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    5 days ago
  • Why don’t we spend $1b to keep people out of jail, rather than spending it on keeping them in?
    Earlier this week, Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced the government’s ‘solution’ to our burgeoning prison population. It seems that most, if not all, of Bill English’s hard-won surplus is going to disappear into another round of prison-building.  That must be ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    7 days ago
  • PKE Ship Sent Packing – Not Too Soon
    It is appropriate that the palm kernel expeller (PKE) ship off Tauranga has been sent packing. For weeks I have been saying this ship needed to be sent away, but it seems as if MPI has been trying to find ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    7 days ago
  • Do you #LoveSnow?
    I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    7 days ago
  • Awa Kairangi/Hutt River – Swimmable?
    On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic. We were welcomed by Te Atiawa representative ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    1 week ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    1 week ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    1 week ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    1 week ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    1 week ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 weeks ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago