I am speaking to you from the Koru Lounge at Auckland International Airport, shortly before I get on a plane to South Africa.
This morning the New Zealand Ambassador in Beijing handed the Chinese Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11:00 am that they were prepared at once to unreservedly apologise for the manhandling of Green Party MP and co-leader Russel Norman, a state of war would exist between us.
I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with China.
You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to strengthen trade relations with China has failed. Yet I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything different I could have done and that would have been more successful.
Up to the very last it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful and honourable settlement between ourselves and the Chinese, but the Chinese President Hu Jintao would not have it.
His Vice-President’s security detail had evidently made up their minds to attack anyone who protested over China’s treatment of Tibet, whatever happened; and although they now say Vice-President Xi Jinping had put forward reasonable security proposals which were rejected by us, that is not a true statement.
The proposals were never shown to us; and although they were announced in a Chinese broadcast on Thursday night, Xi Jinping did not wait for our comments on them, but ordered his security detail to attack anyone who held a Tibetan flag near to him.
His actions show convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He and his President can only be stopped by force.
We are today, in fulfilment of our obligations, going to the aid of the Greens, who have so bravely resisted this wicked and unprovoked attack on its co-leader. We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to establish peace. The situation in which no security assurance given to China’s ruler would be accepted and no people or country could feel themselves safe has become intolerable.
And now that we have resolved to finish it, I know that you will play your part with calmness and courage.
At such a moment as this the assurances of support that we have received from our many friends around the world are a source of profound encouragement to us.
When I have finished speaking certain detailed announcements will be made on behalf of the Government. Give these your closest attention.
The Government have made plans under which it will be possible to carry on the work of the nation in the days of stress and strain that may be ahead. But these plans need your help.
You may be taking part in the fighting Services or as a volunteer in one of the branches of civil defence. If so you will report for duty in accordance with the instructions you have received.
You may be engaged in work essential to the prosecution of war for the maintenance of the life of the people – in factories, in transport, in public utility concerns or in the supply of other necessaries of life. If so, it is of vital importance that you should carry on with your jobs.
Now may God bless you all. May He defend the right. It is the evil things that we shall be fighting against – brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution – and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.
Meanwhile I’m off to the World Cup. Go All Whites!