Is This The Right Time To Protest Against An American Warship?

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DOES THIS MORNING’S PROTEST outside the Viaduct Events Centre advance or retard the progressive cause in New Zealand? Some would say that bearing witness against the horrors of war and calling to account arms manufacturers is, unquestionably, a good thing to do. Others would argue that this is a quasi-religious position which takes no account of public opinion and is, therefore, both apolitical and unhelpful.

At the heart of the debate lie two very different assessments of what politics is about. The first views society as both corrupt and irredeemable: ruined by humanity’s predisposition towards greed and violence. That being the case, it behoves every individual strong enough to resist these twin evils to encourage as many others as possible to do likewise. In other words: politics is not about you changing the world; it’s about striving to prevent the world from changing you.

It’s a view of politics which encourages its adherents to divide humanity into those who “get” how corrupted the world has become, and those who don’t. And because the latter almost always outnumber the former, the ability of democracy to deliver meaningful change is questioned. In a world where greed and violence are accepted as the prime drivers of human affairs, isn’t it more likely that democracy will end up entrenching, rather than eradicating, these evils? And if that’s true (and doesn’t the election of Donald Trump prove it?) then attempting to influence public opinion is a waste of time.

Opposing this view are those who see humanity as being neither wholly corrupt, not wholly irredeemable. Yes, greed and violence occupy a distressingly prominent place in the conduct of human affairs, but they are very far from being the only impulses that drive us. Human-beings are also motivated by generosity, solidarity and compassion. The history of human civilisation is, essentially, a record of the struggle between our worst impulses and our best.

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The key arbiter in this endless struggle between selfishness and altruism, violence and compassion, is human reason. Without a belief in humanity’s capacity to be moved by rational argument, politics – especially democratic and progressive politics – makes absolutely no sense.

Which is why, faced with poll results indicating that a very substantial majority of New Zealanders are positive about the rapprochement between their country and the United States, reasonable progressives would have been disinclined to organise a protest against the participation of a US destroyer in the New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

That disinclination would have been vindicated entirely by the events of the past few days. Far from being seen as a symbol of American imperialism, the USS Sampson – now on its way to assist earthquake victims stranded in Kaikoura – is being welcomed by the vast majority of New Zealanders as a symbol of American friendship and solidarity.

Those same New Zealanders are unlikely to look with any sympathy upon this morning’s protest action on the Auckland waterfront, and the core messages of the protesters themselves are unlikely to be received. Indeed, they are almost certain to be misinterpreted and/or disregarded.

Hemmed in by police and sneered at by an unsympathetic news media as “the usual left-wing suspects”, the viaduct protesters view of themselves as a prophetic minority bearing witness against a corrupt and violent world will undoubtedly be reinforced. Their hearts and minds will remain pure.

Unfortunately, the hearts and minds of the rest of us will remain unwon.

74 COMMENTS

  1. And in addition these protesting bigoted purists don’t get the contradiction, let alone the ironic hypocrisy of defining themselves as peace activists whilst violently trying to disrupt the defence community going about its business to legally and peacefully hold a conference.

    They deserve being sneered at with contempt. Or maybe they just deserve pity.

    • “defence community” meant pro military, pro weapons trade, ultimately PRO WAR, as ALL weapons trade has historically almost always resulted in WAR.

      We have legalised murder long ago, that is in the right kind of environment, called combat or war. So your moralising is total BS, when writing about “peaceful business”.

    • I tend to agree with Chris because the ship is neither nuclear-powered, nor likely to be carrying nuclear weapons – the bones of contention in earlier times. But I find your message hard to take, Ocon. Your emotive language and tendentious arguments betray your own bigotry.

    • We live in a democracy Ocon people have a right to protest or disagree if they want to. We are becoming a sick country when people start begrudging people the right to challenge the status quo. Too many people in our country do not have a voice and too many people like you think you can speak for us all when you need to shut the f…. up and leave people alone. We have bigots running our country and other powerful countries save you bullshert for them Ocon

      • Yes we do live in a democracy Michelle.

        And the peace protesters do have the right to protest and to disagree. But others have the right to gather together; even if, as in this case the protesters strongly disagree with the subject matter of the conference in question.

        Trying to prevent the conference from taking place, to silence voices that the protesters disagree with, is, essentially an undemocratic act. The same democratic rights apply to all groups in society, regardless of whether or not we agree with another person or groups point of view.

        My observations on this are simply observations.I do not claim to speak for anybody else. And I am not begrudging anybody their right to challenge the status quo.

        BTW I will not shut the f.. up because it may suit you for me to do;you do realise, dont you, that trying to shut me up because you disagree with what I might say is a great example of behaving undemocratically.

        • We sadly allow these arms peddlers to assemble here and do their dirty business, and if New Zealanders had any decency, they would ban such conferences. Sadly most New Zealanders seem to be indifferent and others are supporting this BS, and a minority firmly oppose it.

          Those that are silent are more or less condoning arms trade and the killing of people, that should get us all worried.

        • Give us a break, Ocon. Re-read your first post packed with insults, then see how you backtrack and try to explain it all as ‘simple observations’. You have a lot to learn.

    • You clearly didn’t get it Ocon, or maybe your pre-baked prejudices are just as easily defined as those Chris describes. Perhaps you should think twice before assuming the invisible cloak of superiority.

      Although there is a judgement to make about the settings that guide each of us, the gentle criticism professed in this post was an encouragement to mature reflection, not the savaging that many are prone to indulge in on this site.

      The fact is that in the San Francisco of the late sixties, some grew their hair and wore beads, bells, flowers, buttons and feathers for thought-through reasons. (I’m not saying good, bad, silly or wise; just that they could enunciate the motivation and purpose). Many others just wore those things because hippy-chic was the fashion. This is part of the story.

      Another part can be seen in the organic food-personal development world. It is the ultimate expression of self-absorbed individualism to feed yourself splendidly and try to “Go Clear” at some level or other. It is equally self-indulgent to claim the moral high ground while setting the bar so high for others that it could never be achieved by any but the illustrious few: an illuminati which somehow always includes the critic. While leaving compromise to besmirch the reputation of those pathetic sell-outs, we watch year after year go by with literally no chance of improvement because to a considerable faction the majority is always to be despised and consensus or compromise in pursuit of amelioration always rejected.

      A valuable observation, Chris. I wonder how many will hear.

  2. The ANZUS treaty covers New Zealand with a Nuclear umbrella of ballistic and anti ballistic missiles so America can keep its hegemony. In our world we don’t want an ally that we have to defend

  3. Warships should always be opposed. I don’t live in Tamaki Makarau but if I did I would have been at this protest. Because some diverted to give aid to those stricken by the most recent earthquakes is no reasons to approve them. Had we instead invested in sea patrols to protect our coastline and retain our fishing rights they would have been diverted to assist people in Kaikoura and surrounds. The amount spent on this planet on the military is obscene and were this changed to aid we would have a saner and considerably fairer world.

  4. Trotter is a collaborator, it seems, as it was the French and Polish collaborators, who worked with the Nazis, criticising those who dared stand the final bit of moral ground.

    I am astonished at this post, honestly.

    The protests should not only be about an AMERICAN warship, they should be against arms business, military expansion and ALL warships that come and visit our ports at present.

    And there is NO BETTER time than to protest now, as we are at a time in history, where ALL major powers, that is under their present or newly elected administrations plan to BOOST military spending (Russia under Putin does so, China does so, Japan does so, and now the US are back at doing so, once Trump will be in office).

    Chris Trotter, why do you always fall for the “public mood bullshit”? It means you have NO principles, while at times you show passion for the traditional “left”, at other times you are nothing but a damned COLLABORATOR, in the bed with the ones that have a good run at present, given media bias and dumbing down has brainwashed most into simple mindedness, to accept Key and his gang’s rule. I dismay even at Labour now cuddling up with Key and this government, due to the earthquake and disaster work needing to be done. Yes, unity is appropriate to certain levels, but come on, why are Labour now pandering to the government lines at present, I cannot listen to Question Time anymore, it is now meaningless, Key has his run, the next election will be his again, Little and the rest of Labour are a laughing stock, given what goes on.

    Pack your bags, and make room to a real new opposition party, it may not be that guy hating cats, it may not be Morgan, it maybe some other ones that may get their shit together, this country is screwed with this shit mentality I notice, people welcoming war ships from all over the world, to show off, and holding an arms trading conference, in the heart of Auckland.

    New Zealand is a sell out country, the way things are going, New Zealanders are themselves selling ethics and principles, and Trotter leads the way here.

    • Mike in Auckland. i dont usually agree with you but in many ways you are right,i dont agree about Trump , i believe he might be the one to stop American criminality.
      However if you read Wake up New Zealand today and read about the American ship parked on faultline on Kaikoura coast before the earthquake you might get an idea of whats really going on and its not good.Lots of suspicious happenings there,Key is aware of it,and not raised any alarms,everyone should read the article then they might want to protest themselves,not that it would change much, Key would ignore any protest
      It seems the earthquake was not a natural occurrence, but man made to take over Kaikoura coast for oil exploration, this is objected to because of whales in the area and ruination of coast for American profit .This is happening under Obama admin ,nothing to do with Trump.
      John Kerry was in the area checking on climate change,coincidence?American EQ scientists there before quake also,check it out,all dissapeared before quake to observe their mischief from a safe distance.

      • Except no oil company will want to drill for oil in what is now a known earthquake prone area. If what you say is true (which I dare say has approaching zero chance), then they’ve shot themselves in the foot. You have to think it through.

        • Nitrium im quoting from an article , the ship was huge parked on a faultline,the ship sustained no damage at all.They wont have to park on faultline to drill. Maybe nitrium you should read the article,then you might think it through

            • Having a title from university is all well and good ,Nitrium it dosnt mean you know whats happening that has any relationship with current science.
              Comments from people in science say people who rubbish new things happening is applauded by the scientists who cause the trouble, they get away with so much.
              Arthur Schopemhauer, a famous philosophy, once said “Truth passes through three stages,first it is ridiculed,second it is violently apposed,third its accepted as self evident”
              Hillary Clinton stated a week before there would be a big earthquake in Kaikoura,she knows state secrets!!!
              Quite a number of American earthquake scientists were in evidence in Kaikoura days before, all left the day before for safe places.
              The ship was all prepared to help locals immediatly afterwards.

              There were protests for quite a while about oil drilling on the Kaikoura coast. There has been talk for quite some time about clearing the coast dwelling people to allow Exon, and other oil companies to drill.
              Wake up America says US air force can controll weather,William Cohen a previous foreign defence minister said other terrorists are engaging in eco type terrorism where they can alter climate,set off Earthquakes and Volcanos through electronic waves.
              So is it still tinfoil hat conspiricy when public officals admit its true. Google HAARP, that was classed as a conspiricy theory as well,now its old science.

            • “If it’s floating on the sea you dope, how would an earthquake damage it?”

              If you’re referring to what I said, then are you suggesting you can drill for oil without a drill or bore? That is, yes you have your floating oil platform which isn’t directly (but see below) hampered by the earthquake, but you also have a drill which goes into the rock. That’s how these things work. So… what do you think happens to your drill and borehole during an earthquake (remember you can’t prepare for it whatsoever beforehand since NO-ONE can predict earthquakes)? Hint: think Deepwater Horizon levels of epic fail.
              Now add to this a tangible tsunami risk which WILL affect the floating platform…. oh, I’m sure all the oil companies are clamouring over each other for the lucrative Kaikoura oil contract /sarc.

    • One man’s principled truth teller is another man’s footnote to history – at best. But right…oh, so right.

      Well done Mike, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem….choose one.

  5. “DOES THIS MORNING’S PROTEST outside the Viaduct Events Centre advance or retard the progressive cause in New Zealand? ”

    Chris, I give you this answer right into your face, that is in case you bother reading my comment here:

    RETARDED have been the people who vote for Key and ACT and Dunne, and even some voting Maori Party!

    People in this country are largely so brainwashed, I can only forgive them for the fact they have been brainwashed, that stops me from calling them ALL to be retarded. Otherwise I would call them retarded.

    I have for endless years followed the media landscape in New Zealand, and in other places, and what I see now on “breakfast tv”, it is RETARDED! It is stuff presented to RETARD people, and it seems to even be presented by people who either appear RETARDED themselves, or who try to be RETARDED, to appeal to the already RETARDED, or who are deemed to be RETARDED, or who are intended to become RETARDED!

    So I am NOT ashamed to say this here, to write this here, as it is the absolute truth, there is NO other explanation for people behaving like idiots, like sycophants, like slimers and greasers, and sell outs, and totally addicted consumerists and what else they are. We have no longer a discussion based on facts, on intelligent basis, we have dumbing down galore, and that is why such ones like Key here, and now Trump in the US, get such a change to get into power, and to stay into power.

    Thank you, Mr Trotter. Amen.

    • Yes, people are RETARDED. They are retarded in their intellectual and moral development because that is exactly the way the owners of this society want them to be. Politicians and corporations do not want a populace that consists of well-informed people who can think for themselves: they want mindless consumers. Mindless consumers of entertainment. Mindless consumers of energy, food, and stuff. Mindless consumers of personality politics which is all façade and no substance.

      I have personally witnessed how politicians, bureaucrats and the media operate at what could be described as the 12-year-old level. And the bulk of the public go along with that level of thinking because decades of poor education and deliberate dumbing-down has resulted in a population which largely consists of non-thinkers. The few who can think for themselves are now a tiny ‘weird’ minority.

      Since we are governed by liars, maniacs and idiots, this will all end very badly, and quite soon, via massive overheating and environmental collapse.

      Daily CO2
      November 15, 2016:  404.70 ppm
      November 15, 2015:  400.42 ppm

      Not only do we have record-high atmospheric CO2 rising spectacularly but we also have record low Artic ice cover.

      It will start to get very ‘interesting’ around six months from now.

  6. Imperialism is always wrong Trotter, whether it is popular or not.

    Weapons of war remain weapons of war, whether they’re being used or not, whether they are shelling innocent civilians or not, even if they are being used to save kittens stranded in trees. They are what they are, and they are objectively wrong.

    These instruments of death cost many billions of dollars, being built, being maintained and being sold to dictators. That is money we could be using to alleviate poverty or climate change which is instead going toward the obscene profits of war mongers. We all pay for that.

    When you defend Imperialism and pour cold water on those who resist it, whether you mean to or not, you are aiding and abetting murder, and you are forwarding an Anti-Human agenda.

  7. Let us assume that the media has not been complicit in softening up NZ for this inevitable step of further entrenching US hegemony across the pacific, and let us also assume that this softening up process was not intended to presage the inevitable signing in to law of the TPPA. If these assumptions could be validated, and, NZ media linked the current defence expo in Auckland with both rapproachment with the US and the $10 billion spending spree that Gerry Brownlee has committed NZ to over the next 10 years on defence, then maybe, just maybe I could agree that NZers are genuinely happy to have US warships here, pressed into PR service by NZ PM (Minister of Tourism) to help foreign tourists and parading for the NZ Navy’s anniversary.
    Sadly, the first two assumptions can not be validated, NZ is still debating the TPPA legislation at significant cost to the taxpayer despite the fact that the new administration in US has said it is not going to happen and the old administration is unable to make it happen.
    The news on 3 this evening did exactly what you said they would do Chris, that does not mean that these demonstrators do not have significant support.

  8. Homo sapiens is the most violent and vicious species on this planet. Killing other species to eat them is what caused the evolution of Homo sapiens. Killing other humans to acquire their resources is what characterizes human civilisations, especially Christian civilisations.

    The present financial-economic-political system allows certain sectors of society to steal from other sectors of society legally, and usually without too much violence. And it allows certain nations to steal resources from other nations, again usually without too much violence -unless nations resist having their resources stolen, e.g. Iran in the early 1950s.

    Major General Smedley Butler was a very successful career soldier, who spent decades killing people ‘to make nations safe for American corporations’….and then repented in the mid-1930s and described war as a racket.

    It is very easy for well-fed humans to take a moral stance on war, but when the mass starvation commences, as a consequence of the inevitable collapse of the fossil-fuel-based economic system and the collapse of the fossil-fuel-based food system some time between 2020 and 2030, those still alive will see people killing one another for a sack of potatoes or a bag of apples.

    Before that point is reached industrialised nations will expend huge sums and massive amounts of resource (including human lives) fighting for control of the last of the oil. The present military build-up is clearly in preparation for the final resources war between nations.

    If nations manage to fight the next major war without resorting to use of nuclear weapons, whoever is left alive will be able to fight over what hasn’t been destroyed.

    “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
    — Albert Einstein

    • You may be right, but turkeys never vote for an early Christmas, so the show will go on, until the end, as you know.

    • The last world war ended 71 years ago.
      The Cold War was fought on a smaller scale until the Soviet Empire collapsed without a hot war breaking out. This war lasted around 45 years
      and despite the dire predictions of nuclear weapons being used it didn’t happen.
      What evidence do you have that a third major will break out?
      As you will be aware US military spending has been cut so I guess it’s China and Russia you are talking about as theirs is increasing.
      Don’t think you would be much fun at a party.

      • Oh Russia and China, yeah, you forgot Japan, and now wait for Trump boosting military spending in the US:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestiefer/2016/11/09/president-trump-is-likely-to-boost-u-s-military-spending-by-500-billion-to-1-trillion/#379069a41082

        Extract:
        “In his campaign, Trump called for 90,000 more Army soldiers, a 350-ship Navy, 100 more fighters, and strengthened nuclear and missile defenses. That sounds like detail, but it leaves out quite a bit.

        The best pre-election analysis of the expected Trump budget came from William Hartung, a veteran and insightful analyst, who is at the Center for International Policy, drawing on Ross Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

        ” What we do know is that Trump has been drawing many of his defense proposals from the National Defense Panel and the Heritage Foundation. Both of these organizations have advocated for returning the defense budget to the levels proposed in the FY 2012 budget request (the so-called Gates budget). Without any other details from the Trump campaign, I think this is a good ballpark estimate for what Trump is aiming for in terms of the defense budget. The FY 2012 request is about $800-900B higher over ten years than the most recent president’s budget request.” ”

        http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/06/politics/donald-trump-defense-spending-sequester/

        Sorry to upset your own prejudice.

      • Oh Patrick…. it’s a matter of scale. The Americans spend more money on weaponry than the rest of the world combined, and you are saying it’s the Russians and Chinese ramping it up . The Americans have close to a thousand bases around the globe… you could count the number of external bases of Russia and China on one hand. Not to mention the number of nuclear subs roaming around. And let’s not get into their plans for ‘star wars’.
        Protesting American militarism is a good idea at any time and at any place.

  9. Interesting argument, Chris…

    But wasn’t the same argument made in the 1970s and ’80s, when activists challenged the ANZUS status quo? Didn’t activists and community leaders challenge the US doctrine of “mutual protection via America’s nuclear umbrella”?

    Yep, sure did.

    And then we became a nuclear free country.

    And behold, Kiwis like the idea, and enjoyed the notion of thumbing our noses at Uncle Sam.

    It may not be populist at the time, but it’s still the right thing to do.

    • My sentiments exactly. If activists took Trotter’s armchair activist advice to take no action until popular opinion is on your side, no protest would ever happen. The whole reason for demonstrations and protests is to start the slow, difficult process of educating the public and shifting their opinion.

      Look at the TPP movement, which was initially tiny and ignored, then small and sniggered at, and now it has huge support. Would this shift had happened if TPP-free NZ organisers had waited until public opinion was on their side before organising their first action?

      • I don’t believe activism starts from a science or philosophical point of view even though current activists are leading the way in reorganising the economy.

        Employment numbers show (and Frank would probably know more than me about this) but people want to work more hours but there not getting it and there kind of button smashing (to use a gamer term) pushing all buttons looking for more work just to survive

      • Please read properly before you spout. Trotter clearly approved of all the real protest done by NZ in the 80s… Sorry, but Chris Trotter is is historically informed and rational, whereas you seem over-simplistic. And you call Trotter an armchair activist? Have you any idea of what he got up to when younger? What have you done?

  10. I like the comment made in the article I have linked to below which relates to idealism versus pragmatism.

    “Chomsky reserves his fiercest venom for the liberal elite in the press, the universities and the political system who serve as a smoke screen for the cruelty of unchecked capitalism and imperial war. He exposes their moral and intellectual posturing as a fraud. And this is why Chomsky is hated, and perhaps feared, more among liberal elites than among the right wing he also excoriates.”

    “”Chomsky embraces the Julien Benda view of the world. There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege it will always be at the expense of truth and justice. Benda says that the credo of any true intellectual has to be, as Christ said, ‘my kingdom is not of this world.’

    http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/noam-chomsky-has-never-seen-anything-like-this/

  11. Military forces aren’t the ideal means of coping with natural disasters, they just happen to be the most convenient resource available. If nation’s armed forces were replaced with humanitarian forces that were specially designed for humanitarian aid, then they would be much more effective than huge warships that are designed to destroy things.

  12. These protests are very helpful. The public knows that these people will always protest America even if they doing good or are helping us.

    They protest only America and not the warships visits over the last year from other countries.

    If they were to refrain from protesting, it would give the wrong impression. It would suggest they are against war and not Americans.

  13. These dickhead protesters need to get a hobby, a job perhaps if they are employable or do some voluntary work for a charity. There current actions are simply silly.

    • Chris said; “Unfortunately, the hearts and minds of the rest of us will remain unwon.”

      Chris maybe it’s the MSM that have no moral courage and fortitude. to unite us to this worthy cause??

      The media should tell the US to keep their war games out of NZ.

      Most global press are critical also of the US being the leader of the rest of the world as policeman.

      You do see that Donald Trump wants less involvement by his administration as the US President, being not the “Obama” global policeman.

      http://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12273020/trump-russia-nato-putin

      • Why should the media be required to “unite us in this worthy cause?” This is not their role. The media, and their journalists always used to consider their job to be that of a recorder of events, not a designer of them.

        The influencers of opinion are the orators, the poets and the artists.

        Journalists should be impartial observers, giving us accurate clear information so we can draw our own conclusions. Their job is not to force feed us their opinion and to call us names if we disagree with them.

    • It might be more productive to frame your argument as giving employees the amount of hours worked they need to survive.

      If nothing else to keep them far to busy earning cash rather than protest

    • What is your hobby?

      Reading biased nonsense in biased newspapers and on biased websites?

      Sadly you do not come across as all that enlightened when you write stuff like this.

      • I agree that the media are dreadful and not doing their job. But that does not mean I am going to support them by encouraging them to become PR spokespeople.
        I encourage them to go back to their original role, and then I and many like me might go back to buying and reading the papers. Ditto radio and TV news, which I have nearly given up on too.

        I live in hope, as I love reading the paper first thing in the morning, but I know it is a false hope. Their time has gone. Do not try to find them another job. They are the ones who should go and find something else to d0!

  14. I am deeply offended by the lack of respect for people shown by Mike when he calls everyone retards for not believing the same as he does. This insulting behaviour demeans him. Democracy, which I certainly hold dear, works because we have a vote and can influence those who run our country, even if we only do it every three years. I respect the voters of New Zealand and the effect of the “wisdom of crowds”. I respect people who have an opinion that is different from mine. I might not agree with them, but I would never ever call them retards, either as an individual or as a group. If this is what the left think of the poor and disadvantaged, no wonder they are continually excluded from Government. The left is certainly not representing them, but treating them as cannon fodder. The problem they have is the cannon is broken

    • Democracy only works if we have informed voters, but we do with an appallingly poor and biased media not have informed voters, which has led exactly to what I described in my comment.

      The word “democracy” is commonly abused, by those using it to justify their actions, while keeping people ignorant of matters that go on behind the scenes, and even openly in Parliament.

      People are brainwashed by inundating advertising and so, that takes away most people’s attention from what matters in life, and turns them into almost shopping addicted consumers, who follow basic, primitive hunter and gatherer drives. Humans I thought had long ago evolved from being preoccupied by such basic needs and behaviours. But it does not seem so in modern day New Zealand, same as in the US.

      If that is supposed to be what democracy is about, I prefer to live in a more blunt and open dictatorship, so people get the full deal of the BS that goes on. We live in a society that is almost a kind of highly sophisticated dictatorship of commercial interests who have their puppet politicians “manage” the show and pretend people are listened to.

      Sadly you do not comprehend what goes on. Maybe one day you will wake up. .At least some are aware of what BS goes on.

      • Mike you are making assumptions based on no knowledge at all! Do your research. And I do not want to live in a Dictatorship. Democracy, warts and all are better any day.

        • Just trying to be a bit cynical, with an open dictatorship we know what goes on, in this highly sophisticated defacto dictatorship ruled by commercial interests, many do not even realise they live in a defacto dictatorship.

  15. The ship is not nuclear powered or armed. If it was I’d happily go and join the protests that would happen.

    And it is doing New Zealand a major favour at the moment.

    We should be grateful.

    • “The ship is not nuclear powered or armed. “
      Hi Rob,
      I have been looking for information on this. Can you provide a link that confirms this? Thanks.

      • Hi Molly,

        The US Government under George W. Bush moved to remove all tactical nuclear weapons from surface vessels in 1991-2. This was soon followed by the removal of nuclear armed tomahawk missles from the attack submarine fleet. In 2010, Presdient Obama authorised the destruction of the last tactical nuclear weapons that could be mounted on US naval vessels (the aforementioned Tomahawks). The only nuclear weapons left in the US Navy are the Trident Missiles on the US SSBN’s.

        As for propulsion, the Arleigh Burke class destroyers are powered by Gas turbines.

        THe following link has details and links to documentation supporting this – read the section “After the big nuke offload”

        https://fas.org/blogs/security/2016/02/nuclear-weapons-at-sea/

  16. Yes thats fine Chris but why did the National Government hide an ‘arms fair’ behind the navys 75th birthday celebrations. The answer to that brings up some typically murky questions.

  17. Hi Chris, Your article is based on an entirely false narrative assumption. You think that the people protesting down at the viaduct were protesting an american warship.
    No.
    They were protesting that that Auckland City Council, a declared “City of Peace” has given over its viaduct centre for the use of corporations that profit from war, and that make weapons of mass destruction, like Lockheed Martin one of the sponsors of the NZ Defence Industry Conference. This has come in to town under the umbrella of the Navy’s 75th birthday celebrations.

    The harbour is currently filled with warships from India, Indonesia, Canada, Samoa, USA, NZ, Australia, Singapore and more. That is one event, but what has really upset the peace movement, old and young, is this arms dealers/war profiteers conference.

    During the day of protest, it was great to hear David Lange’s daughter speak, Hone Tuwhare’s grand-daughter speak, many iwi activists from Aotearoa and the Pacific ( Hawaii). There were many powerful messages of support from around the country, and different organisations.

    The corporate sponsors of the weapons expo that the peace activists successfully ,peacefully and creatively shut down include Lockheed Martin, Babcock, Beca and Thales. Lockheed Martin supplies the US military command and control system for its nuclear armed minuteman missiles. Babcock manages Britain’s nuclear armed submarine bases. Beca sells software and specialist military equipment from Myanmar to Indonesia, and Thales, part-owned by the French state, produces everything from surface-to-air missiles and drones.

    The protestors felt that these warmongering coporations should not be hosted in Auckland. Do you welcome these businesses Chris? Surely not!

    This is what the focus of the protest was about. War profiteers being hosted by us and supported by our rates. A little bit of journalistic research wouldn’t have gone amiss Chris, and I found your comments to be patronising:eg
    “Hemmed in by police and sneered at by an unsympathetic news media as “the usual left-wing suspects”, the viaduct protesters view of themselves as a prophetic minority bearing witness against a corrupt and violent world will undoubtedly be reinforced.”

    Firstly after the initial stage of the protest which the mainstream media captured and reframed as violent, the whole day was remarkably peaceful and self disciplined from both police and protestors. Food was served to both parties, and the day ended peacefully. Police and protestors stood around and had conversations at the end of the day. From talking to some police it seemed to me that they were somewhat sympathetic to the activists, horrified by the Trump victory, and appreciating that war industries need to be brough under control.

    The people in attendance at this day were very diverse representing a cross-section of society. There were veterans from the 1980s anti -nuclear movements as well as younger people facing an uncertain future with climate change and corporations planning perpectual war for profits. These two issues are linked because the military are huge consumers of oil and creators of CO2 emissions.

    The protestors are not some deluded “prophetic minority’ as your article sneers. They represented the mainstream of New Zealanders who created a nuclear-free state. 30 years on it is in danger of being undermined by sleepwalking into “friendly relations” with the merchants of death and the marketeers of perpetual war.

    Just sayin’

  18. Frances – you live in a fantasy world.
    The Media has been devoid of true journalism for many years now.
    And democracy is a pretence. You only have to stand back and view trends over past 35 years to quickly notice how drastically worse off workers are. Voting hasn’t helped one bit. Never will. That’s the only proof you need.

    Mike in Auckland- I salute you. Mary – you are correct. The technology to cause earthquakes does exist. The ChCh one was also man made.

    Chris Trotter – maybe you could get a job as commentator for a flower show.

    • Thanks, and yes, re this:
      “Chris Trotter – maybe you could get a job as commentator for a flower show.”

      He would pair off well with that National MP and underqualified minister from the North Shore, who used to do just that. She should go back to reporting on gardening and so forth, it suits her much better, and she could engage Monsieur Trotter in reflective conversations about the roses and carnations, while rocking in a rocking chair, with a wide garden as back drop.

  19. Whether or not the ships helping out at Kaikoura are nuclear or not, is immaterial.

    There are kiwis in Kaikoura suffering and if the USA can help them, that’s great.
    There are tourists in Kaikoura who need to get home, so the USA can assist and should help.

    The US will not confirm nor deny the ships are nuclear, so there’s a 50-50% chance they are not. That’s good enough for me, and Kaikourians and tourists.

    The fact there’s an Arms Convention is just a happy coincidence, a fortunate foible of fate. Thanks for bringing this issue into the mainstream Christopher. We need some balanced reporting on this site.

    • For you it will of course be “a happy coincidence” to have an arms conference with the big arms makers and peddlers here in Auckland City, for many of us it is an AFFRONT.

      But you expose your lack of ethical thinking here, defending such a “happy” coincidence.

      ACT the less than one percent party is really catching on, now with the elite arms dealers, I note.

    • OK, NIMBY See-More.

      You and your loony-right party are “OK” with nuclear, how about a nuclear reactor being built in Epsom electorate? Too close?

      Using your expedient logic, there would be only a 50-50% of a US warship being dangerous.

      So the same faulty, fuckwittery logic would say that a nuclear power plant in Epsom would be a 50% chance of being safe. Luckily, it has been proven scientifically and statistically, that people with an IQ and EQ of less than 80 are immune to radiation.

      Yup there is is, statistically and scientifically you have a better than 50% chance of being radiationally safe in the run-up to the next election.

    • No one complained about ship in Kaikoura being nuclear, the day before the earthquake there was said to be loud thumping from ship,
      its the drilling by usa companies in a lovely area ,the locals are protesting the drilling.
      If EQ occurs people whos homes are damaged or destroyed will be expected to move out of area,this is said to be the aim ,clear the coast of people then drillers have free reign. The oil companies are not interested in people just profits.

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