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Wade-Brown's link to nuclear submarines

TAMLYN STEWART AND KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 05:00 09/03/2012

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Peace-loving Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is unconcerned that a company in which she holds shares has a new bedfellow in the form of a military giant whose subsidiary makes nuclear submarines.

Ms Wade-Brown and husband Alistair Nicholson are among the top 20 shareholders of Windflow Technology, a struggling New Zealand wind turbine manufacturer that has just signed a 10-year licensing deal with General Dynamics Satcom, a subsidiary of United States giant General Dynamics, which makes weapons, military vehicles and military communications systems.

General Dynamics Satcom will use Windflow's technology to make turbines for sale in North and South America, Africa, US territories and military bases worldwide.

General Dynamics has a wholly owned subsidiary, General Dynamics Electric Boat, that makes nuclear submarines. In December it christened the Mississippi, described as "the US Navy's newest and most advanced nuclear attack submarine".

Ms Wade-Brown was unaware of Windflow's licensing deal until asked about it by The Dominion Post.

Although she would never buy shares in a company that made nuclear armaments, she had no intention of selling her Windflow shares, she said.

Regardless of what the companies did, they had to buy energy of some sort, and it was encouraging that they were using renewable energy in the form of wind.

"It's good for Windflow. It's a New Zealand company and I can't see it's making the slightest bit of difference as to whether more or less nuclear armaments are being made."

Windflow chief executive Geoff Henderson said the company had been well aware that General Dynamics was a defence contractor when it entered into the licensing deal.

"We see the move to windpower as being akin to swords to ploughshares – the manufacture of weapons of war being converted into manufacturers' peacetime implements."

Ms Wade-Brown and Mr Nicholson hold 84,836 shares in Christchurch-based Windflow, which amounts to 0.54 per cent of the company's total shares.

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