Sunday, July 31, 2005

David Lange and nuclear ships.

David Lange is angry from his hospital bed:
David Lange, the ailing architect of New Zealand's nuclear-free policy, is furious at attempts to allow nuclear-powered warships back into our ports.

The former prime minister is critically ill in Middlemore Hospital, but yesterday spoke to the Herald on Sunday.

"The nuclear-free philosophy has been in effect for 20 years; the legislation has been left substantially unaltered," he said.
While he is so unwell that his biography is being rushed out next week, he could be forgiven having a relapse of his convenient memory. The record is rather different. From the Agenda archives, an interview of Margaret Wilson who was President of the Labour Party when Lange was Prime Minister:
KATHRYN: Margaret Wilson can I ask you what's your view of that excerpt, how reluctant was David Lange to ban the American ships?

MARGARET: Well I think from my point of view at the time I was President of the Labour Party and we knew there were differences of opinion within the parliamentary party on the issue, the party was quite clear, I'd conveyed that to David, it seemed to me he perfectly understood the party's position and the real difference I think was over nuclear powered as opposed to nuclear weaponed.
In other words, Lange was quite willing to ban nuclear weapons from NZ ports but he didn't see the necessity of banning nuclear-powered vessels, which makes his current outrage rather sad.