Russia offered MiGs, tanks to settle NZ debt

ANDREA FOX
Last updated 05:00 15/10/2013

Relevant offers

Politics

Why the tino rangatiratanga flag should be our national choice Green co-leader James Shaw outlines climate change plan Crown-iwi agreement on Auckland housing programme Inland Revenue hopes to get politics out of its $1b-plus overhaul Designer of All Blacks silver fern speaks out on flag designs Steve Hansen favours silver fern Wife of former Bathurst Resources boss jailed for welfare fraud Waikato academic calls John Key out on refugee quota MP Maurice Williamson accused of sexist remarks Govt considers 1.5m safety buffer for cyclists

Moscow offered to give New Zealand a nuclear submarine to help settle Russia's debt for Kiwi dairy products, a new book reveals.

Also offered in lieu of cash in the mid-1990s were MiG jets and tanks, says Clive Lind, author of a book to be published next month exploring 40 years of the multi-billion dollar New Zealand dairy sector up to the big industry merger that formed Fonterra.

Lind said he was "staggered" to hear during his research of the Russian offer of the sub to then-Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Dairy Board chairman Dryden Spring.

Lind is Fairfax New Zealand's editorial development manager and former editor of three Fairfax daily newspapers who already has 12 published books under his belt.

Told by Bolger that New Zealand had a nuclear-free policy, Moscow's response was to suggest "we tie it up in some port and connect it to the national grid", Lind said.

Russia and New Zealand tied the diplomatic relationship knot in 1944, and Russia's appetite for Kiwi agricultural products such as dairy products, meat, and wool, at times since elevating it to New Zealand's fifth-largest export market.

The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and after 1992 New Zealand's trade with Russia fell dramatically.

By 1993 it was heading north again, with Russia accumulating a large debt for dairy products and wool.

By 1998 the debt had reached $100 million.

Lind's book Till the Cows Came Home will be out next month.

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content