Peace groups say cancel the contract with arms company

Cubic Defence video uses high production values & stock music to make going to war and killing people seem cool

Peace groups have written to Minister of Transport Michael Wood seeking the cancellation of a contract with Cubic Corporation for the provision of a public transport ticketing system. Cubic provides weapons training systems, including training on the notorious Predator and Reaper drone systems.

“We are calling on the Minister to intervene and cancel this contract. Overwhelmingly New Zealanders do not want their money invested in weapons companies, yet the government continues to sign large contracts with global weapons dealers handing over tax dollars that strengthen these very companies,” said Valerie Morse, member of Peace Action Wellington.

“Cubic Corporation is a US-based weapons company. They make their money by promoting Islamophobic images where Muslim men are identified as targets.”

“Given the Christchurch massacre and growing Islamophobia in Aotearoa NZ, it is obscene that a government department is signing contracts with a company that directly profits from promoting religious and ethnic violence.”

“The NZ government needs to institute some ethical investment parameters for government contracts. It does not make sense to talk about addressing violent extremism and the growth of militarism on one hand, as the government has done just this year, and on the other hand, sign state contracts with companies that are actively engaged in those things.”

“Aside from Cubic’s Islamophobic war profiteering, the company’s New Zealand subsidiary has a history of evading export controls for military goods. It is not a good look for the government to be doing business with a company that has such a background.”

“The quick and easy way to solve this problem is to make public transport free across the whole country. Then we don’t need a ticketing system, and we don’t need to deal with a weapons company. It would also go a long way to easing the soaring cost of transport and climate emissions at the same time.”

“We call on the Minister to take urgent action and stop this contract now.”

The letter was authored by Peace Action Wellington, Auckland Peace Action, the Foundation Against Islamophobia & Racism, and the Director of the National Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies at Otago University.

Here is the letter in full:

Honourable Michael Wood
Minister of Transport

1 November 2022

Tēnā koe Minister,

We are alarmed at news that Waka Kotahi is intending to partner with global weapons dealer Cubic Corporation on a new national ticketing system. You need to take immediate action to stop this contract.

You should be particularly alarmed that Cubic promotes its weapons-training systems by showing the targeting of men dressed in robes. This is a clear illustration of its institutional Islamophobia. It is totally unacceptable. The New Zealand Government should not deal with companies that specifically use Islamophobic imagery.

As part of the reckoning of the country following the massacre of 15 March 2019, it is imperative that the NZG take real and practical steps to eliminate opportunities for anyone to profit from Islamophobia. This is such a situation.

Cubic does training for US military Predator and Reaper drones. These are weapons used almost entirely in Islamic countries, and are intimately tied to the illegal US drone assassination programme.

Quite aside from the company’s Islamophobia, we are concerned about Cubic NZ’s historical violations of New Zealand’s rules regarding export permits for trade in strategic military goods, and the provision to the Israeli Defence Force of military use training gear despite a permit being declined by MFAT.

Cubic is involved in sales of high tech defence programmes to countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. The human rights record of these participating countries seems to be no barrier to Cubic’s support for the global arms race in these outposts of global militarism, which may be expected to fall into line with the US Global Alliance in the event of future international conflicts.

For the integrity of our information privacy and independence of the functioning of New Zealand’s civilian population, we strongly disapprove of Cubic being awarded the contract of managing our public transport payment system. We ask you to review this decision and apply ethical standards in awarding the contract to a non-military aligned provider, as is within your power to do so.

The quick and easy way to solve this problem is to make public transport free across the whole country. Then we don’t need a ticketing system, and we don’t need to deal with a weapons company. It would also go a long way to easing the soaring cost of transport and climate emissions at the same time.

We expect you, a Labour MP who is well respected in the movements we align with, will take steps to ensure our transport system is not part of the military industrial complex that profits from Islamophobia and the evasion of export controls on military goods.

Ngā mihi nui,

Valerie Morse, Peace Action Wellington

Eliana Darroch, Auckland Peace Action

Azad Khan, Foundation Against Islamophobia and Racism

Dr Richard Jackson, National Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Parihaka Day webinar – confiscation and climate justice

Join Tuhi-Ao Bailey and Tihikura Hohaia, Parihaka kaitiaki to discuss Parihaka Invasion Day, dairy cows and climate justice.

The history of the dairy industry in Taranaki is deeply implicated in the history of raupatu (confiscation) and Parihaka. 

Millions of acres of the most fertile land was confiscated after the invasion of the Waikato and Taranaki in the 1860s, But Māori resistance continued. Through the 1870s Te Whiti’s kaupapa of peaceful resistance at Parihaka effectively stopped the government’s plans for the Waimate plains. 

It is only after the invasion of Parihaka and the imprisonment without trial of hundreds of supporters including Te Whiti and Tohu can the land theft continue.By the 1890s, this stolen land is the foundation of an intensive dairy industry. 

As we approach Parihaka Invasion Day 5th November, join Toin Tuhi-Ao Bailey and Tihikura Hohaia in a webinar to discuss climate justice and solutions to agricultural emissions through lens of this history.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keep space for peace: have your say

Your voice is needed to push peace, climate justice and Te Tiriti to the forefront of MBIE’s thinking about New Zealand’s burgeoning space industry.

There are two important consultations happening. Please aim to make submissions on both – due on 31 October.

1. NZ Aerospace Strategy

We are very concerned about the government’s plans for the development of an aerospace industry because almost every single company involved in “aerospace” is also a major arms manufacturer. The whole idea that NZ should even have an aerospace industry came from Peter Beck/Rocket Lab – a company that has partnered with Lockheed Martin, the worlds biggest weapons maker that are now launching classified US military satellites from Mahia.

You can use our submission to make your own.

How to make a submission: the ‘Developing the Aotearoa New Zealand Aerospace Strategy’ document and a downloadable submission form are available here.

2. Space Policy Review

The Space Policy Review looks at the underlying settings for space activities. We are very concerned that there is a big gap between the values that the government says it has, and what it actually does. Seems values can be interpreted in many different ways. We think we would be better served by clear principles around

  • Te Tiriti Justice
  • Rangimarie / Peace
  • Mana Tangata / Human Rights
  • Kaitiakitanga / Ecological Care & Climate Justice
  • Transparency

You can use our submission to make your own.

How to make a submission: the New Zealand Space Policy Review consultation document and a downloadable submission form are available here.

Keep up to date on this issue by following the work of Rocket Lab Monitor

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keep Space for Peace

Solidarity Picket outside MBIE, 15 Stout St, Wellington
12 noon, Monday 5 September 2022

On Monday 5 September, New Zealand’s first ever Aerospace Summit will be happening in Christchurch. We are joining with other peace groups to demand that we keep space for peace and shut down the growing arms race in space. Join Peace Action Wellington at 12 noon, Monday 5 September, outside the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), 15 Stout St, Wellington to take the same message to staff and decision-makers at MBIE: KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE!

Bring a banner if you wish. Bring your friends / workmates / whānau.

If you happen to have a Star Wars or Star Trek costume, perhaps bring that too!

Right now, we are threatened with weapons in space. Aerospace companies are vying for military contracts to position satellites above us that are capable of detailed surveillance and launching weapons. NZ-based company Rocket Lab has contracts with the US Military that launch these satellites from the Mahia Peninsula.

The overwhelming majority of countries are concerned that the weaponisation of outer space will lead to an arms race and believe that a multilateral approach is the best way to prevent this.

The Outer Space Treaty from 1967 prohibits the placement of weapons of mass destruction in outer space. But it does not regulate other types of weapon systems being placed in outer space or using outer space assets to conduct attacks.

A new agreement has been on the disarmament agenda for decades to prevent an arms race in outer space, but negotiations have never commenced on this topic. Although different initiatives have been introduced, negotiations for a legally-binding instrument have continuously been prevented.

With our growing understanding about the universe, it is more important than ever to protect space against weaponisation, militarisation, and irresponsible behaviour. A conflict in space would lead to devastating direct consequences for our daily life on Earth, but also affect the overall long-term sustainability and peaceful use of space.

As the Anti-Bases Campaign writes, “The principal culprit is Rocket Lab, which has morphed from a New Zealand company into an American company which now operates from both the US and NZ. Many of Rocket Lab’s key customers of its rocket launches from its NZ launch site are the US military and spy agencies.  Rocket Lab is now operating a privately-owned US base in NZ.

Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck is a keynote speaker, along with numerous other high flyers (pun intended) from the global and national aerospace industry. Central and local government leaders will be among the speakers. It’s a big deal and all part of the push to build an NZ aerospace industry, in Canterbury and nationally.

If you cannot attend but would like to support the campaign, please sign the petition on Action Station: Keep Space For Peace | OurActionStation

For more information, see:

Rocket Lab Monitor

Anti-Bases Campaign (

Peace Action Wellington | Facebook

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peace protest against US-led combat training in the Pacific

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) will protest outside of the NZ Defence Force headquarters at 34 Bowen Street, Wellington on Friday, 8 July from 8-9am against NZ’s participation in the US-led “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC) combat training.

This year, the NZDF has a major role at RIMPAC. For the first time, New Zealand will be Commanding the Carrier Strike Group Sea Combat formation, and will be based on the US Navy ship USS Mobile Bay. The ship is equipped with torpedoes, deck guns, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles. The NZDF is also sending 78 soldiers from the HMNZS Matataua and the Army’s 16 Field Regiment as well as the Navy vessel HMNZS Aotearoa.

“The NZDF commanding role at RIMPAC is evidence of NZ’s deeply embedded position within the US military, despite the Prime Minister’s claim of an independent foreign policy,” said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

“Jacinda Ardern has said that NZ is not seeking military alliances and is pursuing an independent foreign policy, but RIMPAC is a show of US imperial might in the Pacific.”

“Combat training like RIMPAC only makes war more likely and does nothing to address the real concerns of Pacific peoples in a time of climate crisis.”

“Military training is a driver of wars and conflict. Being constantly at the ready to fight wars uses resources we could instead be using to put an intense focus on solving peace and justice issues in the region. If the government is serious about Pacific peace, the NZDF should refuse to be part of the buildup of military forces in the Pacific. 

“Right now, we need to put all of our energy into dialogue and conversations about climate justice, decolonisation, poverty alleviation, strengthening democratic institutions and the care of the South Pacific’s ecosystems. Instead, by participating in RIMPAC, we are locked into perpetuating imperial agendas in the region.

“Live combat training is also incredibly polluting, causing damage to ocean ecosystems and marine mammals. Militaries are massive contributors to climate change – and their emissions are not even counted. The social pressures on communities hosting these tens of thousands of soldiers is yet another concern.”

“RIMPAC happens on stolen Kanaka Maoli (Indigenous Hawaiian) land. There is no small irony that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Defence Minister Peeni Henere and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta talk about an ‘independent’ foreign policy but send NZDF troopers onto stolen Indigenous land. There are just so many reasons why New Zealand’s involvement in RIMPAC should cease permanently.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment