In July of 1984, New Zealand voters elected the Labour Party to national office. One of the platforms upon which the Labour Party conducted the election was that, if elected, nuclear-powered ships, or ships carrying nuclear weapons, of any country would not he allowed to dock at New Zealand ports.
In early February, this led Prime Minister David Lange to deny the US to dock the USS Buchanan. Although this action does not violate ANZUS--the Australia, New Zealand, US defense pact it has brought an angry reaction from the United States.
The US has announced no official economic sanctions against New Zealand in reprisal, but Del Higie, an administrator in the New Zealand consulate in Ottawa, believes that blockage of the USS Buchanan may lead the US Congress to be more reluctant in supporting the passage of bills that favour New Zealand.
New Zealand's decision to prohibit docking of nuclear-powered or -armed ships of any country is to be applauded in that it is a clear signal to the U S that defense pacts between the US and other nations are not one-sided affairs. The New Zealand Labour Party, which supports remaining within ANZUS, was exercising its democratic option to define what participation would entail. To that end, Canada can learn from that example.
This month's NLWC suggestion is to write two letters.
Letters to Prime Minister David Lange require 64¢ postage, and should be mailed to: Prime Minister's Department, Executive Wing/ Parliament Building, Wellington, New Zealand. Letters to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney require no postage and should be mailed to the House of Commons, Ottawa ON, K1A 0A6.
The NLWC would like to welcome a new member: the Killarney Nuclear Disarmament Committee/ Manitoba. Should your group be interested in joining the NLWC, please write to us at Box 43, 70 King St. N., Waterloo ON, N2J 3Z6. Also, please send letter-writing suggestions.
P.S. The NLWC now comprises over 250 groups across the country! Each month this large number of groups results in several thousand letters being sent. Together we can have an impact.