Palmer advocates return of US ships to NZ
It is time that United States Navy ships were allowed to return to New Zealand waters, says one of the architects of our nuclear-free legislation.Sir Geoffrey Palmer, who was deputy prime minister during the Lange years and the nuclear-free debate in the
It is time that United States Navy ships were allowed to return to New Zealand waters, says one of the architects of our nuclear-free legislation.
Sir Geoffrey Palmer, who was deputy prime minister during the Lange years and the nuclear-free debate in the 1980s, said a lot of water had gone under the bridge since the controversial legislation led to New Zealand's exclusion from the Anzus military alliance with Australia and the US.
Sir Geoffrey told the Dominion Post that ship visits from the US would not breach the legislation.
The return of the US Navy was not only possible "but desirable".
Changes to US nuclear policy in the 1990s, yesterday's milestone deal to reduce Russian and US stockpiles of nuclear weapons and this week's shift in US military posture meant old objections to ship visits no longer applied, Sir Geoffrey said.
"I think New Zealand could have ship visits now. I think it is something you could get on the agenda without too much difficulty."
Sir Geoffrey's comments come as Prime Minister John Key heads to Washington for a summit which seeks to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
The summit was "vindication" of New Zealand's stance, Sir Geoffrey said.
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