Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Did Lange's Personality Explain Why He Didn't Confide?

Did Lange's Personality Explain Why He Didn't Confide in his Cabinet

Did David Lange avoid confrontation and does this explain why he didn’t confide in his Cabinet over the nuclear ships row?

The former Head of the PM’s Department, Gerald Hensley, suggests this in his book, “Friendly Fire”.

And Former Foreign Minister in the Lange Government, Russell Marshall, speaking on “The Nation” agreed that was the case.

“He wouldn’t have a conversation, said Mr Marshall.

“ He couldn’t converse, he couldn’t exchange and negotiate.

“ I think that was why, although he had papers from Foreign Affairs, he was probably apprehensive about what would happen if he went to Cabinet.

“Foreign Affairs thought that he would say one thing to them and genuinely I think, but then he'd go out and appeal to the public.

“So that people did get a bit confused about that, and Cabinet was sometimes confused too.”

But Mr Lange’s widow and his former speechwriter, Margaret Pope disagrees.

“He wouldn’t have been a Member of Parliament, he wouldn’t have been Prime Minister if he was actually afraid of an argument,” she said.

“He didn’t like disappointing people, he didn’t like letting people down, and but he was always up for a fight.

FRIENDLY FIRE” CLAIMS LANGE DIDN’T TELL PALMER ABOUT AMERICAN SHIP VISIT

Former Prime Minister David Lange did not tell his deputy, Geoffrey Palmer, that he was talking to The Americans about admitting a naval vessel, the USS Buchanan, into New Zealand in early 1985.

Speaking on TV3’s “The Nation” Sir Geoffrey said s that though he knew Mr Lange was working on the ship issue with the Americans, Mr Lange left for the Tokelau Islands in January 1985 without telling him anything.

“I knew that he was working on this issue, but I had no knowledge of the detail and he hadn’t talked to me about it at any length because he only got the request I think the day before he left to go to the Tokelau,” said Sir Geoffrey.

News of the visit leaked while Mr Lange was away and Mr Palmer was left to manage the situation.

He also found that here was a bundle of Cabinet papers from various Government departments discussing the visit.

Sir Geoffrey sent the papers and a note he typed himself with one of Mr Lange’s staff on an Air Force plane to meet him when he arrived in Samoa from the Tokelau Islands.

The note contained details of growing concern in the Labour Party and within the Peace movement that the Government might admit the ship.

The head of David Lange’s office during the ANZUS crisis in 1984 – 85 claims the prime Minister played a double game with the Americans and his own colleagues over the nuclear ship row with the USA.

Gerald Hensley has made the claims in a new book, “Friendly Fire.” >

“The Labour Party conference in September was very strong about the need, no ifs no buts, no nuclear weapons, and David Lange in public kept giving that message,” said Mr Hensley.

“That alarmed the Americans because they had understood from his private discussions that he was going to try to change things, and when they saw over September October a steady repetition of the fact that the policy was non-negotiable, there could be no compromise whatsoever, they began to doubt whether he was really serious about trying to find a way through.”

Sir Geoffrey though has contested claims in the book that he refused officials’ advice when he went to America to try and negotiate a settlement and also denies he said New Zealanders were a uniquely spiritual people.

Mr Hensley claims he has been told this by two Foreign Affairs officials who sat in on Sir Geoffrey’s meetings there in 1985.

But Sir Geoffrey told “The Nation” the account was garbled.

“The whole of Gerald's account of this is garbled I'm afraid because he wasn't there,” he said.

“The trouble with Gerald's book is that it is a narrative of an extremely good diplomatic history put together from diplomatic sources, many many sources. 

“The difficulty with it comes with an angle of narration.  It is the angle of narration of someone who is opposed to the policy, that is to say who thought that we should have stayed in ANZUS and if we had to sacrifice the anti-nuclear policy we should have done so. “  

Mr Hensley says Mr Lange asked the Chief of Defence Staff, Sir Euan Jamieson, to go to Hawaii in late 1984 to find a suitable US naval vessel to come to New Zealand.

“It was Lange's decision,” he said.

“Nothing ever went to Cabinet on this. 

“At this stage when Jamieson was going to Honolulu Merv Norrish the Secretary of Foreign Affairs offered the Prime Minister a draft Cabinet paper to brief Cabinet on where the negotiations were going, and David Lange waved it away and said I'll brief them myself, but he never did.”

The affair came to head after news that a ship visit was planned was leaked and Mr Lange eventually agreed in 1985 to stop the visit.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Anzac Issue Out Now: Werewolf 47

Hi and welcome to the 47th edition of Werewolf, published on the eve of Anzac Day. Its become a cliché to describe Gallipolli as the crucible of this country’s identity, yet hold on... Isn’t our national identity supposed to be bi-cultural... and wouldn’t that suggest that the New Zealand Wars of the 19th century is a more important crucible of national identity than those fought on foreign soil?

Yet as Alison McCulloch eloquently reveals in this month’s cover story, New Zealand devotes a mere fraction of its attention span and funding resources to commemorating the New Zealand Wars compared to what it devotes to the two world wars, Vietnam and Afghanistan... More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Crowdsourcing: Green Party Launches Internet Rights And Freedoms Bill

The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand’s first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Shane Jones Departure

Shane Jones has left Parliament in the manner to which we have become accustomed, with self interest coming in first and second, and with the interests of the Labour Party (under whose banner he served) way, way back down the track. More>>

COMMENT:

Multimedia: PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - April 22 2014

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • The recent improvement in the economy with a growing job market • Income and wealth inequality • Easter trading laws • The New Zealander killed in a drone strike in Yemen... More>>

Easter Trading: Workers 'Can Kiss Goodbye To Easter Sunday Off'

The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. More>>

ALSO:

ACT Don't Go For Maximum Penalty: Three Strikes For Burglary, Three Years Jail

Three strikes for burglary was introduced to England and Wales in 1999. As in New Zealand, burglary was out of control and given a low priority by the police and the courts. A Labour government passed a three strikes law whereby a third conviction for burglaries earned a mandatory three years in prison... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home. More>>

ALSO:

Elections: New Electorate Boundaries Finalised

New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news