National dissembling on nuclear policy

  • Phil Goff
Foreign Affairs and Trade

Don Brash's decision not to support Ken Shirley's private members bill allowing nuclear ships to come to New Zealand is pure hypocrisy, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

"Dr Brash clearly believes in repealing the nuclear free legislation. On Saturday's Agenda programme on TVNZ, he did not deny the accuracy of a senior MP's comments that neither Dr Brash nor most of the National caucus wanted to keep New Zealand nuclear free.

"But he is declining to support Shirley's private members bill, even if amended to provide for a referendum on this subject, which is National's stated policy.

"If Brash wants nuclear power, or nuclear powered ships in New Zealand, why doesn't he have the guts to say so, rather than pretending he doesn't have a position on it?

"Don Brash knows that he promised American Congressmen that New Zealand's nuclear free policy would 'be gone by lunchtime' but he wasn't honest enough to admit that either.

"It's clear that Brash and National have a foreign policy that they intend to disclose after, and not before, the election.

"Scrapping the nuclear free policy is at the top of their list, but it is a long list.

"Cuts to education, health and superannuation are on that list because that's the only way they can pay for significant tax cuts.

"Abolishing the Working for Families package, abolishing four weeks' holidays, abolishing the Super Fund, and selling off state-owned assets are all on that list as well.

"This is partly because they, too, will have to go to pay for tax cuts but also because neither Brash nor John Key believe in them. That is obvious from statements made by both of them over a long period of time.

"But scrapping the policies, like repealing New Zealand's nuclear free policy, would be unpopular and therefore National will continue to conceal its actual intentions before the election.

"Don Brash's stance on the nuclear policy is clear evidence that he does not say what he believes and he does not believe what he says," Mr Goff said.