The USS Sampson is on it’s way.
Never has there been a more symbolic ship to park in our waters than the USS Sampson.
It signifies the end of the spat between us and America over our nuclear free stance.
That decision was made at a different time in a different world and there is a generation of New Zealanders who have grown up not having been around to experience all that it seemingly meant to us at the time, and I say seemingly because I remember it distinctly.
We seemed to take tremendous pride out of the decision
We seemed to think we stuck it up a major power.
That this tiny nation at the bottom of the world roared and the world somehow took notice.
With the benefit of hindsight I’m not sure a lot of that actually happened.
I don’t doubt those committed to the cause were joyous and there is no doubt that it was a big deal for us and a lot of patriotic sort of fervour flowed as a result.
It didn’t hurt though that Lange, perhaps one of our most brilliant orator at the highest level ended up at Oxford and that famous debate and did get genuine international attention with his wit and stinging one liners.
But let’s be honest, what did it actually change?
We were frozen out by the Americans for decades and in doing that how were they affected in even the tiniest way?
I can’t think of a thing.
I can’t think of a single moment in American history that’s been affected by our tiny little country taking the stand we did.
Meanwhile down the bottom of the world we’ve spent the last 30 years falling over ourselves trying to sort the relationship out.
We made a massive deals of trips to the White House; American dignitaries venturing to this particular part of the world; (and) we’ve been bending over backwards looking to restore normality.
Remember all that bollocks about whether we were good friends or good allies?
Which word they would use?
We angsted ourselves silly over what it all meant.
But here we are, 3 decades on, and to be honest the relationship is back to really where it was always meant to be: normal.
And in the ensuing years we have worked out whether a ship is nuclear powered isn’t really that important.
Being able to co-operate and work with the world’s most powerful nation in a troubled turbulent world – that is way more important.
Being part of trade deals is way more important.
Having access to the influence and economy is way more important.
The test of any decisions is: with time under your belt, would you do it again, and you know what I think?
I don’t think we would.
– Mike Hosking, NewstalkZB, Transcribed by Google