Oh boy, i am, simply not going to bite.
First you have to understand who we are as a nation. We are small and the only way we can survive in the "big world out there", is to have a point of difference. So our country is marketed as clean and green. OK, it has it's err slightly grey areas', but mostly, we are clean and green. Hey Sean eats Venison from NZ becuase he knows it has been raised in a very special way. We have huge tourism here, it is a major income
for us. We export produce all over the world because the world "trusts" our product for how itis produced and the environment
it is produced in. So imagine what would happen if we had the slightest little accident
down here with nuclear energy. We would be wiped off the face of the earth as far as our income
was concerned and someone may just as well have dropped a bomb on us. So it isn't about the "nuclear" part as much, it is about the potential risk if something should ever go wrong. Plus I think it is fair to say, we Kiwis don't support the idea of using nuclear weapons anywhere anytime anyway.
As a Kiwi, it is our view it is the US that is Pig headed. OK, firstly, it's not about JUST nuclear power being the engine
of the vessel. It is about Nuclear full stop. Weapons, powerplants, whatever.
Secondly, you may argue about green house gasses and blah blah, but what do you do with the waste? And yep, I know they are really really really safe, but we still have had incidences in the world.
And lastly, if there wasn't an issue, how come when other countries are trying to ship waste around the world, no other country wants to have the ship come through their teritorial waters.
So to have a comment like "Hey we are a Global power, so we have the right to do what we want" which in a nutshell is what is being suggested, just show's plain ignorance of the rest of the world and the rest of the worlds views looking back at the US.(ooops I bit)
As for the US policy of confirm or deny argument. Firstly, a foriegn vessel is a Visitor
to NZ. So Of course we have a right to ask. Remember, the question is not JUST the power plant. Why should we believe a spec on a piece of public paper. We want a standing official to tell us, no problem Kiwis, this vessel has no Nucs whatsoever. And we would say, great, come on in and have a cold one. For the US official to deny telling us, we would be silly if we did not think it maybe had something nuclear onboard.