2005/02/11

NZ Nuclear Free

A brief lesson in history. This is primarly from memory so there aren't exact dates.

The ANZUS alliance was formed 1951 between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. It bound member states to consider an attack within the Pacific as a threat to their peace and stability. It also included that there would be numerous military exericses together.

New Zealanders began to protest against the nuclear ships entering into our waters. They were considered a safety risk. Furthermore the ships were likely to be holding nuclear weapons on board (the US had a 'neither confirm nor deny' policy). Protests managed to board the submarines at they went through the habour.

Meanwhile, there were numerous protests against French atmospheric testing in the South Pacific, the Third Labour Government sent a frigate to protest the testings at Moruroa Atoll, New Zealand also took a case to the World Court which ended Atmospheric testing.

In 1975 the National Party took office and gave US ships a blanket clearance to enter New Zealand waters, protesting became regular.

In 1984 the Fourth Labour Government took office. They declared New Zealand to be nuclear-free. The US sought to send the USS Buchanan to New Zealand, Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer (PM David Lange was on holiday and was out of reach) rejected this ship as the US would not confirm that it did not have nuclear weapons on board. It is thought that Lange may have allowed the ship in as it was too small to launch weapons from and is not nuclear-powered.

Meanwhile France is blowing nuclear bombs off underground at Moruroa. The Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior enters New Zealand so that it can base its protests here. On 10 July 1985 the ship is bombed, one person dies.


The New Zealand Police investigation leads to discovering that this was done by six French secret service agents, two of whom were caught. They are imprisoned. France though refuses to let its agents suffer, so it tells New Zealand that they either be released or France will block New Zealand's access to the European market. New Zealand and France enter in mediation in the World Court. The decision results in the agents being imprisoned in France and New Zealand having access to European markets, France releases the agents within a matter of months in breach of the agreement.

The US offically declared that it could not uphold its responsiblities to NZ under the ANZUS Treaty in August 1986. New Zealand is no longer an ally of the US.
The Rainbow Warrior Affair re-affirms to the New Zealand public that being nuclear-free is good.

In 1987 the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act is passed into law.
It is now political suicide within New Zealand to challenge the law.



Things to think about:
1.) Big countries get to do what they want to little countries
2.) Why is nuclear testing acceptable in the Pacific but not mainland France?
3.) If Bush was truly concerned about WMD surely he reward countries that outrightly reject them?
4.) Why isn't France declared a terrorist state?
5.) Being chucked out of ANZUS allowed New Zealand to avoid the Iraq War as it was no longer an ally of the US.

7 Comments:

I wasn't even aware of this ANZUS treaty. I remember the protests, while living in Sydney, when the US nuclear submarines came into the harbor. But since most of the US navy guys had a couple of days off and went to the only place worth seeing in Sydney, i.e. King's Cross (Sydney's redlight district) and spent beaucoup money contracting STD, the heat died down pretty quick.

“Why isn't France declared a terrorist state?”.

Good question. I guess we're part of the west (till Bush decides otherwise, of course), so we can get away with murder and worse.
2/12/2005 04:55:00 am  
“Why is nuclear testing acceptable in the Pacific but not on mainland France?”.

I guess for the simple reason metropolitan France is not large enough to reduce the fall out risks to low enough a level. I don't see this as the primary issue - it's inferring that nuke tests *may* be ok so long as it's not near ME (*ME* being NZ or whereever).

Which, apart from being rather egocentric is pretty much a no-value argument in view Moruroa Atoll is 1) French territory, and 2) thousands of kilometers from significant human population. Lot further than Australian, US and Chinese testings conducted on mainland soil.

A more relevant question would be, IMHO, "why is nuclear testing acceptable at all?”. I personally think THAT is unacceptable and probably deserving the "terrorism" expletive.

On the Moruroa atoll subject, here are a couple of interesting things:

1. While living in Sydney at the time of the last tests, there was a huge Oz brouhaha about it, but not a word about the China tests, even though they were closer geographically (from memory, Murora atoll is some 6,000km east of the estern coast of Oz).

2. To this day, I can't understand what those tests have to do with nuclear energy. My near 100% guess added to a pretty cluey understanding of nuclear energy (I was co-translator from American to French of an American book titled "The Energy Crisis") is that it has no connection whatsoever. Lately, some ex-personel have been sueing the French gov for the early tests (those done above ground rather than under the sea) where the only protection staff had was putting their hands over their eyes. Reminds me of a similar case in Australia some decades back also. Needless to say, they will probably all die of cancer before something is settled in their favor.
2/12/2005 05:01:00 am  
“Why is nuclear testing acceptable in the Pacific but not on mainland France?”.
There reason I raise this question is because people had to be moved of the island for testing to occur on it. It was not an undeserted island as the French try to claim.
They wouldn't be willing to move mainland French to have a testing site, but they would move Pacific Islanders. French people > Pacific Islanders. That is pretty much racism.

Yes there is a double standard when it comes to China. You have to remember that Australia is afraid of China, so it trades with them to stop the likelihood of an attack. Thus they really don't care about humanitarian stuff or nuclear testing and have made sure they are close with the US.

They probably have nothing to do with nuclear energy, it is a sign that France doesn't want to become irrelevant to world affairs to the Anglosphere.
2/12/2005 10:29:00 pm  
“That is pretty much racism”.

I didn't know they moved local islanders, but it doesn't surprise me. France has a long history of rampant imperialism.

However, I don't see this having anything to do with racism (not that we don't have racism problems here), but sheer logistic. A small island in the middle of the Pacific thousands of km away from civilization was a *feasible* usable target even if it involved moving a few hundreds or thousands of ppl. No such alternative on mainland: it would involve moving millions of people, not to mention those of adjacent countries.

“They probably have nothing to do with nuclear energy, it is a sign that France doesn't want to become irrelevant to world affairs to the Anglosphere”.

Mmmm... not sure your assessment is correct. It certainly has little to do with nuclear energy, that's for sure. But regarding world affairs in Anglosphere, I don't see it this way. It's in fact much simpler that that:

France's govs, ever since WW2, have made it clear they don't want US implanting their military bases like they have done near everywhere else in the world, from Germany to Japan and Australia. French govs simply decided to be militarily self sufficient.

Proud and arrogant? Perhaps. But in view of the recent events showing the US becoming the invading threat to the world, maybe not so silly after all. At least, we are not stuck with having to bow to Mr Bush. Our nuclear arsenal is impressive enough to deter him from threatening us like he enjoys the rest of the world.
2/13/2005 03:35:00 am  
2.) Why is nuclear testing acceptable in the Pacific but not mainland France?

I think that ALL future nuclear testing should be done on mainland France.
2/13/2005 07:26:00 pm  
I think that ALL future nuclear testing ...”.

What cowards who don't even have the guts to sign their names think is completely irrelevant.
2/13/2005 09:18:00 pm  
It's is completely irrelevant. It was a joke. Lighten Up.
2/14/2005 03:51:00 pm  

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