US ship visit and nuclear free NZ

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, October 31st, 2015 - 77 comments
Categories: defence, identity, us politics - Tags: ,

Andrea Vance broke a potentially explosive story on One News last night: Defence force may be in talks to allow nuclear ship visit (video). Nuclear ship? Red alert!!

An invitation to the US has been extended, this is part of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations next year, many countries have been invited. But let’s hope that the headline is wrong and it is not nuclear, as obviously this would violate NZ’s nuclear free policy. At time of writing there seems to be some confusion on the matter.

Here’s Vernon Small’s take:

Invitation to US Navy could see the end of 30-year standoff over ship visits

The New Zealand navy has issued an invitation to the United States to join in the navy’s 75th birthday celebrations next year, potentially ending the 30-year freeze on military ship visits here.

New Zealand’s nuclear free policy, enacted in 1985, bans nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed ships from entering ports here. … While the law requires the prime minister to confirm, to his satisfaction, that any ships are not nuclear armed or powered, it has in practice always required the US to drop their “neither confirm nor deny policy”.

The US has made it clear surface vessels are not nuclear armed, and it will be easy to ascertain from public records whether it is nuclear powered.

However in the past that has not removed the roadblock to the US sending a ship – the neither confirm nor deny issue – even though there have been suggestions a low-profile visit, such as by a coast guard vessel, could solve the impasse.

It seems from that the US could send a ship (or other “asset”) that was obviously not nuclear (which satisfies our law), while still refusing to confirm or deny (which satisfies their policy).

Given that One News was reporting that the ship would be nuclear, I’m not sure what information Annette King was working with when she responded:

Labour deputy leader Annette King said she did not believe New Zealanders would accept the PM could decide to end that policy.

It’s not clear that the nuclear free policy is being ended – and I can see no reason why Key would want to buy that fight!

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully on Friday said … “Our law requires the Prime Minister to make a determination that foreign military aircraft and vessels are not nuclear powered or carrying nuclear weapons before entering New Zealand. He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade advised the Prime Minister “to assist in his determination”. “The same legislation applies to all foreign visiting military aircraft and ships.”

If it can be determined from public records that a ship being send by the US is not nuclear then I don’t see any problem. Their “neither confirm nor deny” is a stupid cold-war relic, but I don’t see it as a deal-breaker. Anyway, let’s not panic until we get a bit more clarity on what is going on here.

77 comments on “US ship visit and nuclear free NZ”

  1. Rosemary McDonald 1

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1987/0086/latest/whole.html#DLM115116

    “An Act to establish in New Zealand a Nuclear Free Zone, to promote and encourage an active and effective contribution by New Zealand to the essential process of disarmament and international arms control, and to implement in New Zealand the following treaties:
    (a)the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty of 6 August 1985 (the text of which is set out in Schedule 1):
    (b)the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water of 5 August 1963 (the text of which is set out in Schedule 2):
    (c)the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1 July 1968 (the text of which is set out in Schedule 3):
    (d)the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Sea-bed and the Ocean floor and in the Subsoil Thereof of 11 February 1971 (the text of which is set out in Schedule 4):
    (e)the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction of 10 April 1972 (the text of which is set out in Schedule 5)”

  2. dukeofurl 2

    The usual appalling click bait which masquerades as headlines for the media. They probably meant to beat it up as “is it nuclear?”

    Apart from submarines and carriers no other US navy ships are nuclear powered. That only leaves nuclear armed.

    The only nuclear armed weapon system for surface ships seems to be the anti submarine rocket launched torpedo system-ASROC. While this system was originally capable of having a torpedo warhead with a nuclear warhead, its unclear ( or deliberately so) whether it was no longer in production or had been replaced ( or not)
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RUR-5_ASROC

    Another factor is that for economic reasons, nuclear warheads were supposed to be removed from normal day to day carriage on US surface ships.
    The US navy can be a funny place, especially in the Pacific, where they run the entire military presence, and can do its own thing regardless of what Washington says.

    • Ovid 2.1

      There is indeed a lot of confusion over this. As noted, the only nuclear powered vessels in the US Navy are aircraft carriers and submarines. With the retirement of the nuclear tomahawk cruise missile in 2013, the US Navy is out of the tactical nuclear weapons business.

      The Prime Minister can now be reliably satisfied under section 9(2) of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act that US Navy surface vessels do not carry nuclear weapons.

      We have had ship visits from the navies of Britain, China, France and even Russia over recent years. We now engage in exercises with the US and our navy is operationally deployed alongside US vessels in the Indian Ocean under Operation Enduring Freedom: Horn of Africa.

      So any objection to US port visits is not over whether they comply with our law, but over what kind of relationship we have with the United States. The Wellington Declaration articulates what kind of relationship the two governments want to have with each other and ship visits fit broadly within that model.

  3. Wainwright 3

    Who cares if they’re nuclear or not. We’re not a British colony any more and not a US vassal state. We don’t have to bow and scrape and act all giddy just because a big ship graces us with its presence.

    Anyway, we’d be doing the US a favour accepting a visit – we’ve got a reputation as a progressive international player. Letting their ships drop anchor in our harbours gives America’s imperialist campaigns more credibility. They can sod off.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Who cares if they’re nuclear or not. We’re not a British colony any more and not a US vassal state.

      I’m pretty sure that our present government is trying to turn us back into one. Authoritarians, such as the National Party, will always kowtow to those they view as richer and more powerful.

      • johnm 3.2.1

        We already are a vassal state to the U$ hegemony, why do we have a military presence in IRAQ?

        and:

        We do the bidding of the zionist neocons in Warshington.

        New Zealand’s Zionist Diplomacy In The Security Council
        http://www.countercurrents.org/vlazna301015.htm

        ” The reprehensible draft ‘resolution’ circulated by New Zealand (NZ), the present chair of the UN Security Council, is so blatantly biased against the Palestinian people that it proffers, in this instance, the correct diplomatic protocol to mind it’s own business….. particularly as NZ is an on-the-record, apologist and morally blind supporter of Israel. On July 22, 2014 as Israel’s vicious war on the people of Gaza raged savagely and relentlessly, Prime Minister John Key, repeated the zionist mantra that “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

        In June this year, during a visit to Israel, NZ’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully ran the idea of the resolution by Netanyahu. So, sure enough, NZ, like all western governments, obsequiously replicated zionist propaganda in the ‘resolution’:

        NZ normalises Israeli atrocities by falsely presenting Israel and Palestine as equal perpetrators and equal victims and

        by pushing the demand that Palestine gives up its endeavour for justice in the International Criminal Court thus letting Israel off scott free for its monstrous war crimes and crimes against humanity.

        While NZ demands that Israel freezes its rapacious settlement expansion (in which NZ invests..see below), it absurdly promotes the farce of negotiations that expand settlements. There is no demand by NZ that the zionist infiltrators leave the present settlements that have illegally expropriated half of the remaining Palestinian West Bank.

        NZ obediently keeps up the pretence of a two state solution when Netanyahu has repeatedly ruled out Palestinian sovereignty:

        “At the height of the 2014 Gaza war, Netanyahu revealed that he doesn’t envision Palestinian sovereignty in the West Bank any time soon. “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” he said at a press conference in Jerusalem. In other words: no withdrawal and no Palestinian sovereignty, which means no state of Palestine.

        A few months later, Netanyahu said, in a much quoted interview on the eve of the March 17 election, that, “indeed,” no Palestinian state would be created under his leadership.”

        To add insult to hypocrisy, NZ does not act on its recommendations – it will not “make a move to first recognise the Palestinian state.” ”

        We’re lock stock and barrel in there with Australia which has considered sending warships to support U$ brinksmanship against the Chinese at the Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

        • johnm 3.2.1.1

          “Obama and His Neocons Ready to Risk World War III in the South China Sea”

          ” On October 27, the US Navy guided cruise missile destroyer the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Spratly Islands in the South China Sea despite repeated warnings from China that such overt action would be taken as a deliberate provocation in an already strained relationship between the United States and China.

          Alarmed Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui immediately summoned US Ambassador to China Max Baucus chastising him for the naval envoy’s near island pass-by, calling it an “extremely irresponsible action” and “a threat to China’s national sovereignty.”

          China’s Communist Party run Global Times declared that by exercising tactful restraint but preparing for the worst, China is showing the White House that it “is not frightened to fight a war with the US in the region.” The article goes on to say that should any US ships linger in the area, China must “launch electronic interventions, and even send out warships, lock them by fire-control radar and fly over the US vessels.” ”

          http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-and-his-neocons-ready-to-risk-world-war-iii-in-the-south-china-sea/5485349

          • nadis 3.2.1.1.1

            John – you might want to get your information from sources that arent run by lunatics. It wasn’t the “Spratly Isles”. It was Subi Reef. Note the definitional difference between Isle and Reef.

            What the USS Lassen sailed within 12 miles of was a previously submerged reef that has had dredged sand dumped on top of it by the Chinese to create an artificial island. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea explicitly does not allow states to base a claim for a maritime zone based on reclaimed land. The map in this story shows what dicks the Chinese are being.

            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/28/china-not-frightened-fight-war-south-china-sea-uss-lassen

            If the Chinese stuck to the terms of the treaty they signed, then the 200NM limit would apply, not the make believe fantasy of building a string of man-made islands to claim the entire South China Sea.

            The US has been pushed by several ASEAN nations, the Philippines in particular to perform freedom of transit exercises to push back on the Chinese. This is not China vs the US, this is China vs the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

            http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1e4b779e-7e93-11e5-a1fe-567b37f80b64.html#axzz3q8MkCwzC

      • Wainwright 3.2.2

        Oh yeah. This is why the idea that John Key gets to “make a determination” is a total farce. Like he or Mccully are ever going to say “No” to their puppetmasters.

    • billmurray 3.3

      Of course you are forgetting that it was the US Navy that stopped the Japanese Navy at the battle of the Coral sea. Thousands of Americans died and both Australia and New Zealand were save from invasion. You are an ungrateful and shallow prat.

      • Wainwright 3.3.1

        Yeah they did that out of the goodness of their hearts and not because they were at war with Japan or anything. Heard of Pearl Harbour?

        The idea Japan was seriously trying to invade Australia or New Zealand, or had the capacity to do so, is retro propaganda. Japan wanted to secure holdings in Asia. The only shallow thing here is your understanding of history.

        • john 3.3.1.1

          Without the yanks, like it or not. The Japanese, would have invaded both us and the Aussies.
          Simply to deny transit of shipping between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Also the reason they attempted to block the Panama canal.
          This would have given the rather large Japanese navy free reign over the Pacific.
          You are incorrect that they did not have the resources to invade, without the yanks, NZ and Australia were relatively undefended, even if we recalled forces from Europe.

          • vto 3.3.1.1.1

            yeah nah, the world is a bit bigger than the 10c piece spinning alone in your head

            • john 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Then make your argument, try facts, instead of attempted (unsuccessful) insults.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Japanese threat, World War II

                New Zealand Chiefs of Staff considered invasion unlikely because of the country’s isolation. Hit-and-run raids were more probable.

                New Zealand’s Faith in U.S. Alliance Misplaced

                Japan entered World War II with limited aims and with the intention of fighting a limited war. Its principal objectives were to secure the resources of Southeast Asia and much of China and to establish a “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” under Japanese hegemony.

                It seems that you’re the one who needs to check his facts. The Japanese just weren’t interested in NZ or Australia.

                • john

                  1. They said the same about Singapore and Malaya. they were wrong about that too.
                  2. False…..the Japanese made it all the way to India, further and harder to get to than NZ or Australia.
                  Australia was attacked and without holding the Kokoda trail the Aussies would have been beaten.
                  Other factors:
                  The US stationed troops in both NZ and Australia.
                  The US had the Navel power to supply those troops across the Pacific
                  The US retained control of the Panama canal, meaning they could move naval units between the Atlantic/ Caribbean fleets and the Pacific Fleet.
                  In short, the US Navy was instrumental in keeping the Japanese away from Australia an NZ.
                  The Pacific war was won, all but entirely, by the US and it’s Navy with a VERY minor role played by Australia and NZ.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    1. WTF are you talking about?
                    2. [citation needed]

                    Rest of the crap: We’re talking about Australia and NZ being invaded by Japan and the evidence indicates that we probably wouldn’t have been even without the US.

                    • john

                      Your history knowledge being sorely lacking.
                      They predicted that Singapore would never fall and therefore Malaya would be safe. They never envisaged that the Japanese would invade Malaya first and take Singapore, effectively from the landward side via the causeway.

                    • john

                      without US help there was nothing in Australia or NZ to stop them!!!

                    • john

                      “German and Japanese surface raiders and submarines operated in New Zealand waters on several occasions in 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1945, sinking a total of four ships while Japanese reconnaissance aircraft flew over Auckland and Wellington preparing for a projected Japanese invasion of New Zealand.”

                  • joe90

                    The US stationed troops in both NZ and Australia.

                    Yeah, but they didn’t add thousands of kilometres to their supply lines by shipping arms and supplies to NZ,

                    We were a staging area for some personal prior to deployment but most Americans here were forces rotated out of the Pacific theatre in very poor physical condition for rest, rehabilitation and hospital care before they were sent home.

                    • john

                      Important work, but where do you think their weapons and supplies came from?
                      Guns, vehicles etc all from the USA. Transported here by the US merchant navy. Much of which was used as land fill after the war, in Seaview Lower Hutt.
                      Upwards of 45 000 US troops were stationed here. Plenty to prohibit an invasion over that distance.

                    • joe90

                      Important work, but where do you think their weapons and supplies came from?

                      Brisbane.

  4. ianmac 4

    I bet sixpence that Farrar is poling furiously to gauge the reaction to Key if he just going ahead and inviting the USA in. I suppose far fewer people really care anymore. The flag! The flag!

  5. Macro 5

    Of course all USN ships carry nuclear weapons. Why would you send a ship half way round the world and not fully arm it? That includes its nuclear war heads. We don’t, (we don’t possess nuclear war heads – but we don’t send a ship to sea unless its fully operational) the RN doesn’t, and neither does the RAN. The USN as the duke pointed out above possess ASROC; part of that weapon system are nuclear war heads. The Pacific Fleet is primarily for defence against sub attack. As is our fleet. The protection of trade routes being of prime importance.
    You don’t reveal all your weaponry anyway – so as the US is the largest nuclear power on Earth with enough explosive power to destroy the whole planet many times over), one can only presume that all of their ships are nuclear armed.
    ps I was Officer of the Day at HMNZS Philomel during the visit of the US Knox. I well remember that day, and it is not something that I would wish to be repeated ever in this country.

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      You are totally wrong in what you are saying. Nuclear weapons were supposed to be removed from surface ships of US navy. Doesnt mean they cant at some time in future have them back.

      Even if you were a minor functionary on a stone frigate, it seems to surprise you that most weapons dont have nuclear warheads even when ‘travelling half way round world’

    • RedBaronCV 5.2

      Are you free to share a little more about the US Knox visit?

  6. Steve Wrathall 6

    And what is this terrible eventuality that will ensue if we were to allow a nuclear-capable ship to visit? In the ’80s we were told it would make us a Soviet nuclear target. Don’t think that’ll happen now.

    • Rosemary McDonald 6.1

      If my memory serves…the legislation and the ensuring ban applies to vessels from ALL nations….not just to those who the Soviets(or anyone else) might take offence if we welcome them into our territory.

      It was, to my knowledge, only the one nation who chose to take a law WE passed as an affront.

    • Melb 6.2

      If launching an all-out nuclear assault then they wouldn’t take the risk of leaving friendly bases where US forces could regather and make repairs. We would hav likely been hit whether we had a US ship docked or not.

      The Soviets had a couple of important infrastructure targets possible. The long runways of Auck International, Ohakea, and Chch International would be attractive, as would be taking out Devonport Naval Base, and the deepwater harbour of Wellington.

  7. Ralf Crown 7

    The real problem is not nuclear or not, but that John Key is establishing New Zealand as a satellite state and vassal to the US. That is one reason that two Kiwis were detained on suspicion of planning or aiding terrorism in China recently and deported (The story in the Herald is now pulled), and just today the New Zealand Herald has two lengthy US hate propaganda statements published which has no link to reality. Start saying goodbye to the China trade now, it saves you from surprises later. Decisions are now made in Washington and implemented by Key.

  8. Matthew Hooton 8

    You are so right that the ‘neither confirm nor deny policy’ is a stupid cold-war relic. They have in fact given a blanket denial since 1991 any of their surface ships have any nuclear weapons: see http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=20035
    Since then, they have destroyed about 90% of their tactical nuclear weapons: see http://m.state.gov/md225343.htm
    So there really is no chance a non-nuclear-powered surface naval vessel has any nuclear weapons aboard. I don’t know what poor Annette King was going on about in One News last night. I suspect she was set up by Andrea Vance.

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      The policy may be set from Washington, but the US Navy in the pacific is often its own little fiefdom.

      And as I have recently established the US drone war is conducted contrary to the Treaty with the Soviet Union (INF-1987) which prohibits any land launched warhead carrying missile – it doesnt specify that those prohibited must be nuclear armed.

      Yet again the US gets around the prohibition by its old trick of neither confirming nor denying they are waging a drone war.

      The US political- military complex has a lot of bullshit so Im very wary about about any claim ALL surface ship weapons have been removed. They may just have a few for ‘training purposes’
      ( Note how the boots on the ground in Iraq and then Syria were all for ‘training purposes’ as the cover story, but in reality the most flimsy spin.)

    • Rosemary McDonald 8.2

      “So there really is no chance a non-nuclear-powered surface naval vessel has any nuclear weapons aboard.”

      Who said that? Clinton?

  9. John Shears 9

    Mathew Do you really think I want to waste my Saturday afternoon reading what George Bush said in 1991 as if I would believe him anyway and the other list is of a little more interest even and nearly 3 years out of date.

    The US neither confirm or deny position needs to dropped into the Marianas Trench with suitable weights attached.

    Let’s hope that the USN has some manners this time and accepts the invitation from the nation that welcomed and fed them in the 40’s after Pearl Harbour and before Guadalcanal.

    Surely we can take them at their word that they will not break our Nuclear free policy when they send a ship here.

    • Matthew Hooton 9.1

      Yes, I think that is what will happen. We’ll see. My point is that it would be silly of us to not take them at their word on this matter: even their rivals the Russians and Chinese do.

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    Just comin to visit their latest possession are they? Well they can F*** off as someone above said. It’s just JK sucking up to the yanks again ( gotta do something after the world cup is over and he isn’t Richie fanboy #1).

    Can we believe the US about anything?? Most of the republican candidates for president are odd to say the least- wanting to build fences on the mexican & canadian borders has to be on the high side of dumb??

    • Matthew Hooton 10.1

      I think the navy has asked ships from 30 countries to attend their party. The US is one of them.

      • RedBaronCV 10.1.1

        The other 29 are no doubt window dressing.
        And don’t anyone here underestimate how important this is to the US – in showing to the world that we are back under their thumb. Welcome to every terrorist organisation that targets the US.

        That ship ban hurt the US perception of themselves as the good guy on the block. As recently as last year , travelling in the US, I found people mentioning it when they found out where I was from.
        “We had to sail right on by” as one of them put it.
        “They wouldn’t let us in” still stewing after 25+ years.

        • Matthew Hooton 10.1.1.1

          I think the opposite is true. This would be a diplomatic win for New Zealand. They would have conceded, after 30 years, to our policy. This is Russel Norman’s view too.

          I expect the other navies will include China, Russia, India and UK. You think they are just window dressing?

        • nadis 10.1.1.2

          Baron – you did extremely well to find even one American who would have the slightest knowledge about NZ’s anti nuke policy. Where did you visit- the State Department?

          John Key’s problem won’t be the neither confirm nor deny policy. It will be straight forward for even the most virulent anti-american to come to the conclusion that US ships dont carry tactical nukes any more and havent since the 1990s, and that is all our legislation demands. The bigger problem will be the other US Naval policy, the “one fleet policy” where they won’t send a ship where others in the fleet would be denied.

          You never know, this invite might be the catalyst for a change in US policy where they acknowledge that both policies belonged to the cold war era.

          • RedBaronCV 10.1.1.2.1

            Actually I’ve found more than one and nowhere near the state department, Out there in real life world.
            Back then there seemed to be a lot of people pulling into Wellington. Fishing fleets, icebreakers, US coast guards -there are still newly gentrified houses in Wellington Central that receive knocks on the door in the dark of night from limited english speakers with an address clutched in their hand that has been passed down through the fleet over the years..

            But for ships that had spent a considerable amount of time down in the southern ocean NZ was the first call to civilisation and girls – the extra 3-4 days to Sydney or even Freemantle was a long long time for young men

  11. Anne 11

    I can see no reason why Key would want to buy that fight!

    Oh yes he would! Nothing would please him more than to see the country embroiled in another debate about nuclear armed/propelled ships – right up Crosby/Textor modus operandi alley. And while we’re busy squabbling over whether we should allow a ship from the US to come (given no-one can be sure if it is or isn’t nuclear armed) he and his cronies will be up to their necks passing legislation further undermining our political and democratic processes.

  12. Rosemary McDonald 12

    “Surely we can take them at their word that they will not break our Nuclear free policy when they send a ship here.”

    No, we can’t take them at their word.

    • Anne 12.1

      Which is a more succinct version of what I was also trying to say. Plus, at the same time pitting pro and anti nuclear proponents against one another and blaming it all on the Labour and Green Parties. And it will probably work – 4th parliamentary term assured?

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        That’s the best approach. Labour should state that the country has long settled it’s position on this matter – and unless National have reason to candidly re-open the debate – accepting the US at it’s word is the most honourable path.

        That puts the onus firmly back where it belongs – on the govt of the day.

    • millsy 12.2

      Especially when we have no way of enforcing this law. I doubt that the USN are going to let Customs officers come aboard and check if a missile is nuclear.

      • Matthew Hooton 12.2.1

        When Chinese and Russian naval ships come to NZ we don’t get to search them either.

        • Anne 12.2.1.1

          I have no doubt you’re correct but what’s that got to do with the price of fish? We happen to be talking about US ships. Anyway, when was the last time a Russian Naval ship visited NZ? 100 years ago?

          • Ovid 12.2.1.1.2

            The Russian training ship, STS Nadezhda (a sailing vessel), visited New Zealand in 1998. The People’s Liberation Army-Navy vessels Zhenghe (a training ship) and Mianyang (a frigate) visited New Zealand in 2010. A larger Chinese fleet visited NZ ports in 2013, the destroyer Qingdao, the frigate Linyi and the supply vessel Hongzehu. The French frigate, Prairial, visited NZ in 2013. HMS Monmouth visited NZ in 1995, but I couldn’t find any more recent British visits on Newztext.

            Te Mana visited Vladivostok in 2005. Te Kaha visited Shanghai in 2007.

            So if we’re not Russian vassals or Chinese vassals or French or British vassals, what is it about an American ship visiting a NZ port in accordance with our law that would make us a vassal of the United States?

            • Anne 12.2.1.1.2.1

              Ummm… I’m replying to Matthew Hooton Ovid. The subject of the post concerns US ships. Remember the fit of pique and subsequent stand-off with the Americans because they didn’t get their way in the 1980s/90s? While they may have felt sore with us, no other country behaved in the same way so we didn’t have a ‘stand-off’ with them. Maggie Thatcher had a tantrum but as far as I’m aware that’s as far as it went.

              • Ovid

                We’re on a public forum, Anne, anyone can put their two cents in.

                Policies change. Times change. The Americans no longer have nuclear weapons on their conventionally propelled vessels. Yes, they suspended ANZUS with us. Yes, it was an overreaction. But for a couple of decades now, NZ has been building fences with them. The last government deployed troops to Afghanistan and placed a ship on station off the Horn of Africa to interdict smuggling and stop piracy.

                Since then, the Wellington Declaration has been proclaimed, we’ve signed a partnership accord with NATO and a great deal of cross-service training has taken place. A contingent of US Marines were on exercise here in September. We are firmly and squarely part of the western world. We are also party to the Five Power Defence Arrangements with Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the UK, so we’ve never charted a policy of non-alignment.

                We’re at a point where we can maintain our law, the Americans can save face and we can demonstrate some magnanimity rather than harbour a thirty year old point of resentment.

          • nadis 12.2.1.1.3

            This is the stupidest thing I have read in a long time, from that story:

            “American warships no longer carried nuclear warheads. But the US has not previously confirmed or denied whether its ships were nuclear-powered.”

            Its so stupid it has to be a typo.

  13. Macro 13

    In their report on “Tactical Nuclear Weapons and NATO ” pg 372 published 2012 the Authors wrote:

    America has enduring national security interests, with nuclear weapons remaining a vital part of ensuring that security. As the U.S. security focus shifts from
    Europe to the Middle East and the Pacific Rim over the coming decades, the country may find that today’s NSNWs will continue to play a similar role in assuring allies in those regions as they do and have done for generations of Europeans. They may no longer be called “non-strategic,” and they may find themselves lumped together with other nuclear warheads, bombs, and strategic delivery systems that have deterrence
    and extended deterrence responsibilities. But even if no longer a discrete category of weapons, the political and military need for such weapons will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.

    http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1103.pdf
    In other words we can conclude that tactical nuclear warheads still form a part of the US arsenal. The current status of Nuclear weapons in service within the US is unknown but thought to be still in the order of 5000.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_the_United_States#Current_status

    What DoU overlooked in his assessment of weaponry available to the USN is the 500lb bomb a variant of which is the Quickstrike mine a naval mine which can be deployed from helicopters.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_82_bomb
    as can be seen it usually has a conventional explosive – but not necessarily – and can be nuclear.

    DofU may note that I served a minor role at the time of the USS Knox visit however my naval career did not cease at that time and I have served on the TMC (top management committee as it was then) of the Naval Staff in Def HQ Wgtn.

  14. In spite of all of the back and forth about what the US Navy surface fleet might or might not have in terms of nuclear weapons, and whether or not the US is sincere in its statement that its non-carrier surface fleet is neither nuclear armed or powered, I think that it is safe to say that a US Navy ship participating in a ceremonial occasion such as the RNZN 75th anniversary celebrations will not have nuclear weapons on board. Plus, for all we know the USN might send a tender, tanker, amphibious landing ship or some other non-combat vessel.

    I also share the view expressed by Matthew Hooten (and Russell Norman): if the US accepts the invitation, it is a diplomatic victory for NZ.

    Of course, there is the larger question of what NZ signed up for in the Wellington and Washington agreements, because those involve far more than show the flag exercises at ceremonial ports of call..

    • Rosemary McDonald 14.1

      What are they celebrating exactly?

      • The 75th anniversary of the establishment of the New Zealand navy as an independent force on October 1, 1941. Until then it was a branch of the Royal Navy. Since the RNZN is known as much if not more for its humanitarian role as it is for its combat operations, this is not so much a celebration of its past war exploits as it is of its role in NZ’s maritime history.

        • Rosemary McDonald 14.1.1.1

          “this is not so much a celebration of its past war exploits as it is of its role in NZ’s maritime history.”

          So…why invite their warmongering ‘friends’.

          • Paul G. Buchanan 14.1.1.1.1

            By “war-mongering” do you mean just the US? Or does that include the Australians, Chinese, Russians, UK, France and other states that have engaged in blood-letting under dubious circumstances?

            My impression is that the invitation went out to countries that have histories of naval presence in the Pacific. I do not get the impression that the thrust of the anniversary get-together is to celebrate war. But certainly anytime military vessels are involved we are reminded of why they exist, so a person with a pacifist or anti-war/anti-military ideology has good reason to object.

      • RedBaronCV 14.1.2

        With a massive dose of cultural insensitivity the 75th anniversary of the NZ Navy. ( even that looks like a typical warmongering/Nact excuse -WTF is special about a 75th anniversay.)

        Actually we seem to have had a navy for around 373 years-(long before the US even existed) as the first recorded naval engagement in NZ waters appears to have taken place in Dec 1642 when war waka were launched to challenge an intruder. And don’t say NZ wasn’t a state because the Treaty of Waitangi proves otherwise.

    • RedBaronCV 14.2

      The yanks have tried that fast one on us before when the anti-nuc legislation was first in. They wanted to send the USS Buchanan as you would well know.

      http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/page/uss-&lt%3bem&gt%3bbuchanan&lt%3b/em&gt%3b-refused-entry-nz

      “The US decided to test the new government’s resolve. In late 1984 it requested a visit by the guided missile destroyer USS Buchanan, which had been commissioned in 1962 and was unlikely to be nuclear-armed. The Americans assessed that it might slip under the political radar.”
      And they are trying the same trick again and John Key is stupid enough to fall for it..

      And are these items about you? If so as a US citizen maybe you have some conflicts of interest???

      http://36th-parallel.com/our-people/
      Dr Paul G. Buchanan is a former intelligence and defense policy analyst and consultant to US government security agencies who specializes in matters of comparative and international politics and security. He is a US citizen permanent resident in New Zealand
      He consulted to several US government security agencies on matters of Latin American politics and security prior to his arrival in New Zealand in 1997. His responsibilities required him to have a Top Secret security clearance issued by the US government. After emigrating to New Zealand he worked with the New Zealand Defence Forces ….

      • I think that it is fair to say that the tenor of US-NZ relations was slightly different under Reagan than it is under Obama. The Buchanan (no relation) was not nuclear-armed but the US stubbornly clung to its “nether deny or confirm” policy regarding nukes given the Cold War mentality of the time. That is not the case today and I cannot think of a reason why the US would “try a fast one” or pull the “same trick” at what is a ceremonial occasion involving foreign naval vessels from a number of countries, including nuclear powers.

        A more interesting question might be to ask whether US submarines patrol in NZ territorial waters and if so, does the NZDF and government of the day know about this? Remember that subs are good at two specific things–killing other subs and serving as electronic intelligence platforms–something that, given the expanded Chinese naval presence in the South Pacific (to include subs and intelligence-collection vessels) might just attract the interest of the US 7th Fleet above and below the surface.

        Moreover, since the GCSB monitors foreign military communications as part of its responsibilities, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that some of the original interception is done by allied military assets at sea who then forward the intercepted communications to the GCSB and there 5 Eyes partners for decoding and analysis. Between the intelligence and tracking roles carried out by US subs (particularly the LA class), it seems entirely plausible that it is here where potential breaches of NZ’s non-nuclear legislation might occur.

        I am not sure what conflicts of interest I might have since the RNZN is not a client of mine (nor is any branch of the NZDF). My past contributions to the NZDF were voluntary, educational and focused on various aspects of irregular warfare, and that ended when I began to write critically about the NZDF in the public domain.

        • RedBaronCV 14.2.1.1

          If you mean the tenor of relations under Obama is different – because the Nact’s are busy sucking up as hard as they can, spying on their own citizens for the US, backdoor abrogation of the nuclear legislation, TPPA legislation – then on that we can agree . The USA of Regan was very different – the Bush warmongering took care of that.

          Is this a wise or good thing for NZ? – I’d say we probably disagree very strongly. We’re inviting every organisation and country that hates the US to see us as their vassal state -personally I’d rather see us as the less aligned more honest broker sort of a country – were we used to be.

          WRT the conflicts of interest – are the views your own, your employer’s or by happy coincidence both align? Are you employed by a right wing think tank or not – who funds your salary?? I wasn’t looking at your relationship with the NZ Navy so much as your relationship to US military & diplomatic interests? I don’t know the answers to any of the above but given your work interests are you simply an unremunerated bystander or are you pushing a line of argument that relates to your work

          • Paul G. Buchanan 14.2.1.1.1

            I have stated on more than one public occasion that I thought that signing the Wellington and Washington agreements, given the terms, was a bad idea for NZ if it wanted to keep its “independent and autonomous” foreign policy stance. I even have an academic article that addresses that subject, among other things (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.1538-165X.2010.tb00675.x/abstract). So we are not as far apart as you might think, and I agree that the current government is setting new lows on several fronts (and have said so publicly on numerous occasions).

            After I left academia in 2011 I set up a NZ based political risk consultancy, so I work for myself. You will have seen on the company web site that it is described as a non-partisan, non-governmental organisation that specialises in strategic assessment, political risk and market intelligence. In my capacity as Director I work with a range of people–private, public, non-governmental and diplomatic, as well as with the media. I am beholden to no one which is exactly why there is pecuniary value in what I do–I give the good news, the bad news and everything in between, and do not sugarcoat things just to leave a good impression. My standard line with prospective clients is that if they want me to say what they want to hear, then I am not their guy.

            Because of my background in academic and US government service, I am fortunate to have learned the conceptual and practical tools required for independent geopolitical analysis, which is what I strive to do. So again, there is no conflict of interest at play here.

            From that neutral standpoint I see US participation in the 75th RNZ anniversary celebrations as a bonus for the current government, the RNZ and NZ diplomacy given that any pretence (beyond rhetorical) of being independent and autonomous was discarded as soon as it came into office. But as I intimated to Rosemary above, I also believe that it gives those who abhor imperialism and war (or just the US) an opportunity to make their feelings known at the time of the festivities.

            Otherwise I see the anniversary celebrations, regardless of who accepts the invitation to participate, as just another exercise in military diplomacy that is more about ceremony and symbolism than it is about operational substance.

            • RedBaronCV 14.2.1.1.1.1

              Operational substance – what was that stuff that was going on in Timaru a while back – ceremony and symbolism? Running around with guns?

              Attending a bonus for the current government – maybe not.

              Sucking up to the Yanks and inviting others to very publicly see us doing so and putting us on the radar of the USA’s enemies maybe not so smart nor so popular.
              A side dish of JK being looking stupid /naive/ devious / manipulative about the nuclear legislation – didn’t do much for Brash for one.

  15. RedBaronCV 16

    So what do we know so far:
    – this was dumped on the public during World cup final so Nact has something to hide.
    – 75th anniversary of the navy is a cooked up excuse if ever I saw one
    – the US boat is being brought in under the cover of a lot of other countries warships
    – US apparently still has nuclear armaments and it is naive to imagine they leave home without them

    Ralf Crown above said it:
    “The real problem is not nuclear or not, but that John Key is establishing New Zealand as a satellite state and vassal to the US.”

    So I’d expect the journo’s to be asking Key
    -have you cooked up an excuse for a visit?

    -are you hoping to smuggle the yank boat in saying “of coure this one isn’t nuclear” and break the law. How will you deal with a legal challenge?

    – Are you just an idiot/sucker/naive because you belive anything the US tells you unlike Labour and Lange on the Buchanan ‘Near-uncertainty was not now enough for us,’ Lange later explained. ‘Whatever the truth of its armaments, its arrival in New Zealand would be seen as a surrender by the government.(and avoiding it’s own legislation)

    -why are you making us a target for every group that hates the US when we need not be.

    – Does the settlement with the NZ Defence force over the jounalist/afghanistan debacle mean that they are under some coercive obligation to the NAct party.

    – Can we trust anything defence personnel say in the wake of that Court Settlement.

    – Given the general disarray of the US (studies show that US corporates get the laws they want but the citizens don’t) and the idiotic (almost certifiable behaviour) of republicain presidential candidates and elected representatives there are no benefits from aliging ourselves with this so why are you doing it?

    • vto 16.1

      “studies show that US corporates get the laws they want but the citizens don’t) ”

      In te paper today there was a piece about how Jeb Bush has given way to Marco Rubio….. do you know how this was assessed and viewed by the republican party people? It was assessed not by polling of the people, no no no. It was assessed by the resulting actions and moves of the party’s donors.

      Big business political donors run the USA

  16. vto 17

    Why would anybody believe anything the US government has to say about its armies and navies? (yeah we don’t carry no goddam weapons on this ship…) ffs

    only a fool

    actions speak louder than words

  17. Ralf Crown 18

    For those who are interested in history. The spratly islands were Chinese territory and populated by Chinese over 1,000 year ago. Archeology, documents and maps show that and it is not disputed. US say it is irrelevant and has already urged and financed all other claimants to build their own artificial reclamations. US is also actively pressuring all other claimants to deny the Chinese access to their ports, only US ships are welcome. The US will have 60% of its attack forces in the region soon, and is upset because China can use the islands to monitor the US movements. On the other hand, it is apparently not irrelevant in the case of Israel. US is simply in the process of doing the same expansion as Germany in the last century. The Fourth Reich in progress.

    • Ad 18.1

      Chinese also populated Singapore, Malaysia, and most of Howick.
      Are you proposing that China extends its limits there as well?

  18. Thirty years ago New Zealand enacted a popular albeit naive policy that banned nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed ships from entering our ports. But things have changed in this post-Cold War era and now that the US Navy no longer have nuclear weapons on their conventionally powered vessels we should welcome a visit from our most important military ally. But should the ship arrive, it will doubtlessly be met by our noisy left-leaning anti-US brigade accusing our government of sucking up to the Yanks. But where were this anxious lot when we “sucked up” to Britain, China, France and Russia by allowing their naval vessels to visit, none of which were searched for nuclear weaponry? Let’s welcome the visit and the progress it represents.

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