Despite almost never agreeing with Fran O’Sullivan, I have respect for her. She comes from the ACT-right and her pieces reflect that but she argues honestly and intelligently, the latter in particular being in short supply in this country’s political discourse.
So, I’m a bit saddened by her piece this morning:
If Wellington was devastated by an earthquake of the 7.3 magnitude that has reduced the Haitian capital of Port au Prince to ruins, would Kiwis embrace help from the US Navy?
News reports indicated the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson was expected to arrive in Haiti yesterday, spearheading the major relief mission President Barack Obama has ordered to deliver humanitarian relief to shocked earthquake survivors.
It should not escape notice that the Carl Vinson is a vessel of the Nimitz class – the fleet of nuclear-powered ships which are the pride of the US Navy.
Nuclear-powered ships are banned from entering New Zealand waters under the anti-nukes legislation that David Lange’s Labour Government introduced in the 1980s.
I’m betting that the John Mintos of this world, who were poised to air their ageing vocal cords this weekend against the planned visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to New Zealand, would still be pig-headed enough to form a picket line outside the US Consulate office in Auckland if any US nuclear-powered carrier deployed our way for humanitarian reasons
…If a major disaster strikes here, would we cock a snoot at US help – however it might be delivered?
We know she is fiercely pro-American and sees the nuclear-free legislation as a barrier to a free trade deal but it is completely inappropriate for O’Sullivan to take advantage of the Haitian people’s suffering to further her own political ends.
Further, it’s a silly, fallacious argument. The government has to actively decide to refuse permission for a ship to enter if it may be nuclear-powered and the Attorney-General has to power to decide if there should be a prosecution. They would obviously look the other way or decide it counts as ‘innocent passage’. To paraphrase an American term, the law isn’t a suicide pact.
No-one is going to object to aid from a nuclear-powered ship in the event of a catastrophe. The “John Mintos of this world” (and most of us are a lot younger than you, Fran) would be too busy trying to help people in need to worry about the propulsion of a ship coming to our aid.
I was expecting someone to try to make this point but I thought it would be Slater or some no-name right-wing blog, even Farrar would have the judgement to steer clear. I wouldn’t have thought O’Sullivan could be so coarse.