USS Buchanan

Our nuclear-free stance has become a central part of New Zealand's modern identity, but Sir Geoffrey Palmer has revealed it may never had happened but for one thing

New Zealand's nuclear-free policy is one of the most nation-defining and profound policy decisions this country has made in the past generation; it striped to the bone our traditional alliances for nearly two decades, took us down a path to a more independent foreign policy and reinforced our sense of self as a mouse that can roar. Yet is so easily may not have happened.

Ignore the spin: The United States has backed down after 31 years and confirmed it will send a non-nuclear ship to New Zealand. The super power has lost. But does that mean New Zealand has won?

This is an historic day for New Zealand. The day the world's superpower blinked after a generation-long staring contest. The day America, in any meaningful sense, abandoned its 'neither confirm nor deny' policy. The day the mouse's roar was truly heard.