A view from the inside: anti-nuclear diplomacy in a cold cold world

Former diplomat and Green MP Kennedy Graham describes the mid-1980s as some of the best years of his life. New Zealand, under David Lange’s leadership, had just become nuclear free, making, in Kennedy’s words, the most fearless, independent, and moral foreign policy choice since nationhood.

I asked Kennedy to describe that time of his life and give us an insider’s view of what happens diplomatically when a small country on the edge of the world declares it’s independence from the world’s largest superpowers.

You can listen to the podcast here [MP3].

7 Comments Posted

  1. Ballistic DU Oxide Dust in Hawaii


    Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) on Hawai’i Island is contaminated with ballistic DU oxide. The Army’s live fire range up on saddle road, has very strong winds almost everyday where they hold live fire training on radioactive contaminated targets. Contaminates drift off the range carried by the wind.

  2. Lange was a big blowhard, he had his 15 minutes of fame, that’s all. In years to come the so called nuclear free advocates might be screaming for nuclear power as the viable alternative.

  3. i must have missed something – when exactly did iran and north korea threaten new zealand with nuclear missiles ?

    iran – is that the country that had a democratically elected government overthrown by the cia and a ruthless dictator with u.s. trained secret police installed ?

    north korea – is that the country that lost 1/3 of it’s civilian population to bombing from the u.s. airforce ?

  4. “What are you going to do about North Korea and Iran?”

    Well, it’s not rocket science, Iran’s democrats should be supported and their government discredited whenever possible. New Zealand has bugger all influence or ability to impact on North Korea, the main strategy there is to lean on it’s supporters (mainly China). But the government won’t do that because our foreign policy is run by neo-liberal ideologues who don’t think further than an easy buck.

    This is kinda irrelevant to the nuclear free issue – we’d respond to North Korea or Iran exactly the same way regardless of nukes.

  5. We’re very lucky in that New Zealands isolation allows us to declare a nuclear free stance without too much outside influence. Although we have been punished through financial measures for our antinuclear beliefs, this pales in comparison to what other countries inflict on people who have similar beliefs as ours.


    Unprecedented repression of anti nuclear protest in India: The state has unleashed savage repression on Jaitapur’s people. It routinely arrests and serves externment notices to peaceful protesters, and promulgates prohibitory orders.

    Now, suppose a monstrous force wanted to destroy this ecosystem. What better way than nuking it? That’s precisely what Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and the government are doing, by erecting six giant (1,650 MW) reactors designed by the French firm Areva.

    However, Jaitapur will be a nuclear Enron — capable, like all commercial reactors, of undergoing a catastrophic accident like Chernobyl in 1986, which killed an estimated 65,000 to 110,000 people from radiation-induced cancers and other effects.

  6. It’s easy to stand up to friends who won’t harm you.

    What are you going to do about North Korea and Iran?

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