Chris Finlayson wanted to dump nuclear free with no public referendum
WikiLeaks: Attorney-General wanted anti-nuke policy axed
Current Attorney-General Chris Finlayson wanted to overturn New Zealand's anti-nuclear legislation without a public vote, a WikiLeaks cable reveals.
The cable from February 2006 describes a move to change National Party policy to unreservedly support anti-nuclear legislation introduced by Labour in 1984.
Despite the policy change, many National MPs privately supported overturning the anti-nuclear legislation, the cable says.
Of those Mr Finlayson - then a rookie MP - is cited as supporting an immediate end to the ban on nuclear ships entering New Zealand waters.
"We know only one National MP - the newcomer Chris Finlayson - who thought a National Government should change the legislation right after winning an election, without a referendum. But he also thought the Government should then shelve the issue by not encouraging or allowing any ship visits for a number of years," it says.
National changed its policy to endorse anti-nuclear legislation after the 2006 meeting described in the cable from US Ambassador Bill McCormick.
Its previous policy of supporting a change if a referendum found there was public support for the move had been attacked by Labour.
The cable says the policy change was motivated by a need to create a political defence against those attacks, rather than broad ideological support for the move from within the party ranks.
So Don Brash wanted nuclear free gone by lunchtime, where as Chris Finlayson wanted it gone before breakfast? Changing nuclear free without a public referendum is an extraordinary measure that leaves one shocked, horrified and a little sick to the stomach, what other bits of legislation did Chris Finlayson want to ram through without referendum? Dumping MMP? Getting rid of that whole pesky universal suffrage stuff and those annoying Bill of Rights protections?
How on earth would NZ have reacted if Finlayson had his wish and dumped nuclear free the second they got into power? Thankfully calmer minds shut this down, but it is a reminder that you can never take your eyes off National for a second.