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New Zealand is proud of its anti nuclear stance, with its victory over USA

N.ZealandNew Zealand set to mark anti-nuclear victory over the United States, ABC News 14 Aug 16 By Veronika Meduna in Wellington New Zealand’s anti-nuclear campaigners are claiming victory against a Goliath.

Key points:

  • The NZ public overwhelmingly supports its anti-nuclear stance
  • The US suspended its ANZUS obligations to NZ after its destroyer was denied access in 1985
  • Peace protests expected when non-nuclear ships visit NZ in November

When the NZ Navy celebrates its 75th birthday in November, US warships will be there. It will be the first time any American military ship has entered a New Zealand port since the country’s controversial anti-nuclear legislation was passed in 1987.

“What this means is that any ship that comes here will be coming on New Zealand’s terms,” says investigative journalist Nicky Hager, a key figure in the anti-nuclear movement at the time.

“Our terms were set 30 years ago with the nuclear-free policy.”

Peace campaigner and former Green MP, Keith Locke, agrees. “It is recognition that most of the New Zealand public does not want nuclear ships and the US cannot get around that,” he says.

Anti-nuclear stance strains relationship with US

The stand taken by the comparatively tiny nation caused a rift between the allies which has lasted three decades, and has been likened to a mouse that roared.

New Zealand’s anti-nuclear movement was spurred to action when France tested nuclear weapons at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia in the 1960s. More than 80,000 New Zealanders signed a petition calling for a nuclear-free Southern Hemisphere.

“It was the biggest petition anywhere since the Suffragettes’ campaign of the 1890s,” Mr Locke says.

The anti-nuclear mood gripped the nation. Visiting US warships powered by small nuclear reactors sparked massive protests in the 1970s and 1980s, drawing thousands onto the streets…….

The nuclear ship ban has been a central pillar of New Zealand’s foreign policy ever since.

Warships from other nuclear-weapons states, such as the UK and China, have docked in New Zealand ports because they were prepared to declare their vessels “nuclear-free”.

However, the US stuck rigidly to its policy of “neither confirming nor denying” if a ship was nuclear-armed or powered. And that has kept American naval vessels out…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-13/new-zealand-celebrates-anti-nuclear-victory-over-united-states/7731644

August 14, 2016 - Posted by | New Zealand, opposition to nuclear, politics international

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