21 Jul 2016

NZ 'won' on nukes - Hager

1:32 pm on 21 July 2016

An investigative journalist who was previously involved with the nuclear disarmament campaign says the New Zealand public has won the anti-nuclear debate with America.

US Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully. 20 July 2016.

Photo: POOL / NZME

US Vice President Joe Biden is meeting with Prime Minister John Key in Auckland today.

He touched down in Auckland yesterday and spoke to Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully,

The US Navy has been invited to take part in an international fleet review as part of the New Zealand Navy's 75th anniversary celebrations in November.

It would be the first visit by an American navy ship since the anti-nuclear rift 31 years ago.

Author and investigative journalist Nicky Hager said that if a ship did come it would be a win for the New Zealand public.

"A whole generation of New Zealanders were highly involved, marched in the streets and cared deeply about nuclear-free policy.

"And the United States were extremely bloody-minded about that, they've gone to send a ship that was either nuclear powered or nuclear armed from the very beginning and in the end it's been the US government that's changed and not us.

"So yes, all the people involved in it have won."

Security analyst Paul Buchanan from 36th Parallel Assessments told Morning Report Mr Biden's visit signalled the US accepted New Zealand's nuclear-free policy.

"The Biden visit is clearly a consolation for not getting a state visit from President Obama during the remainder of his term."

"And it clearly signals that the US accepts New Zealand's non-nuclear policy, in fact it's an issue that quite frankly was resolved in practice many years ago."

But he said a visit would still be highly symbolic.

Mr Biden is expected to fly out of the country this evening.

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