Warship visit a challenge to nuclear free committment

The Editor

The Dominion Post,  Wellington,  12 June, 2016

Dear Editor:

The nuclear free legislation of 1987 was never complete. To deny entry of nuclear armed and powered warships was a great start; there is no such thing as ‘nuclear deterrence’ which is just a figment of a collective insanity.   However, the wider reality is that the military of any nation with nuclear weapon arsenals will use them to intimidate.  Think of Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq as examples where New Zealand has been dragged into aggressive and ill-advised military commitments, and it could have been worse.  The only way to be truly ‘nuclear free’ is to avoid alliances and cooperation with nuclear armed militaries.

That the USA is now willing to bring a warship to New Zealand on the terms of the current NZ nuclear free legislation presents a new challenge. The USA with its years of ‘neither confirm nor deny’ policy on nuclear weapons has protected NZ from the imperative to advance ‘nuclear free’ but now is the time to confront that.

The nuclear free legislation has never been complete, thus the significance of it has gradually and inexorably receded over time with inaction.  We now have the opportunity and obligation to re-examine our commitment to nuclear free.


Richard Keller

not published but a shorter version was


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