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 (converge.org.nz)

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

What do we do about a Pacific arms race and rising regional tensions? Build a powerful peace movement



Over the last few weeks, we have heard and read a torrent of news stories about the Chinese military and security in the Pacific. The US and Australia are ringing alarm bells and seeking some ‘re-engagement’ in the region. But for the people on the front lines, more weapons, troops and military deployments actually mean less security and less freedom.

Now is the time for a Weapons-Free and Independent Pacific
There is a different opportunity presented by this moment: a weapons-free and independent Pacific. The work of the Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific movement, which was firmly grounded in the decolonisation of all of the Pacific peoples, is not complete. We now live in the region of the fastest growing arms race. It is time to expand that vision to include all weapons – not just nuclear weapons. This is a vision for real peace and security instead of endless preparation, training and spending for war. No more do we want billions spent for new and better ways to kill each other; we must use all of our collective energy and resources to address climate change, environmental destruction, poverty, corporate exploitation and ongoing colonial racism. We can do it.

Cancel RIMPAC 2022
Peace Action Wellington is part of an international campaign to cancel the US military’s largest live combat maritime training: RIMPAC (short for ‘Rim of the Pacific’) due to start on 26 June and run through August in and around Hawai‘i. The NZDF is part of this combat training. Read more about RIMPAC>>

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN
We want you to join us to build a strong and vibrant peace movement in Aotearoa that embraces decolonisation and demiltiarisation as the way forward. 

Sign our petition to Cancel RIMPAC

Join us on Saturday, 18 June 2022 from 1-5pm for a creative resource making day at the Newtown Hall in Wellington. Facebook event here

Email the Defence Minister Peeni Henare (peeni.henare@paraliament.govt.nz) and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta (nanaia.mahuta@paraliament.govt.nz) with the following message:

Kia ora Minister Henare and Minister Mahuta,

I’m writing to you to urge you to completely withdraw all NZDF participation in the US Navy’s upcoming “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC) live combat training during July-August 2022. I want to see Aotearoa NZ embrace decolonisation and demilitarisation of the Pacific, not feed into the growing arms race and military build up.

RIMPAC is a real and present danger to the Pacific. It further raises tensions between the US and China, and adds to the environmental damage, economic fragility and social destruction of the Pacific.

New Zealand has the chance now to exercise independent foreign policy and be a Pacific partner and a model for other countries by choosing not to participate in 2022. In 1982 New Zealand withdrew from RIMPAC activities. We can do it again.

Signed,
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No NZDF to US Pacific war training



Against the backdrop of Jacinda Ardern’s recent trip to Washington DC cementing further military cooperation with the US, Indigenous and peace groups are demanding that the NZDF completely withdraw from participation in the US Navy’s upcoming “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC) live combat training during July-August 2022 with the launch a new campaign. 

RIMPAC is a maritime warfare exercise based in and around Hawai’i used to demonstrate US domination and control of the Pacific Ocean. It happens every two years. It includes 20+ other nations, 25,000 troops and thousands of weapons.

SIGN OUR PETITION TO #CANCELRIMPAC2022

The NZDF is sending 78 soldiers from the HMNZS Matataua and the Army’s 16 Field Regiment as well as the Navy vessel HMNZS Aotearoa. 

“RIMPAC pretends to promote safety all the while perpetuating harm, destruction, and violence. These military war games are an assault against Kānaka Maoli and other Pacific peoples whose lands and waters have long been used as sacrifice zones and whose lives have been dismissed and disregarded. New Zealand has an opportunity to set a new standard by withdrawing from RIMPAC. To do so would be to prioritise care, environmental protection, and the right of Pacific and Indigenous peoples to self-determination,” said Dr Emalani Case, member of the Cancel RIMPAC Coalition.

Coalition member Marco de Jong adds, “The superpower scramble for influence is jeopardising peace in the Pacific. Polarising rhetoric, reactionary diplomacy, and wargames only prompt escalation. New Zealand must maintain principled distance and contribute to the alternative security vision held by other Pacific nations. This is centred on climate response and socio-economic resilience as outlined in the Boe and Biketawa Declarations. We must contribute to the rebuilding of Pacific regionalism lest superpowers divide and conquer to the detriment of all.” 

“An independent and Indigenous foreign policy, marshalled in service of Pacific regionalism is powerful. Remember that New Zealand draws its international standing from its place and influence in the Pacific. Playing American lapdog is equivalent to authoritarian apologist and jeopardises NZ interests. By contributing to the rebuilding of Pacific regionalism—in ways consistent with regional priorities, our Pacific identity, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi—we have our last and best chance to fulfil our diplomatic potential as Aotearoa.”

During RIMPAC, deadly weapons are used on land and sea causing massive environmental destruction to the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Ocean. The live fire training involves shelling islands; using bombs and missiles to sink ships, leaving ammunition, debris and wreckages in the sea; and detonating underwater explosives. The US Navy is exempt from the Marine Mammal Protection Act meaning it can test underwater sonar weapons that kill and injure whales, dolphins and other species. The US military is also the world’s largest single user of fossil fuels and exercises like this have a massive carbon footprint.

“New Zealand has the chance now to exercise independent foreign policy and be a Pacific partner and a model for other countries by choosing not to participate in 2022. In 1982 New Zealand withdrew from RIMPAC activities. We can do it again,” said Mr de Jong.

“We believe in a free and independent Pacific. We believe in a Pacific that is free of colonialist & imperialist violence; and free of the constant threat of military harm and imminent war. Until this is realised for all people of the Pacific and for all people of this world, our stance and intentions remain unchanged. We call for the cancellation of RIMPAC and  for the complete eradication of all war and military violence in our lands and waters. We stand in support and echo the demands of our siblings across the Pacific, and implore all members of our communities to join the struggle for a Pacific free of war and colonial violence,” said Tāwhana Chadwick from IPU: Indigenous Pacific Uprising and a Coalition member.

The Cancel RIMPAC coalition includes IPU: Indigenous Pacific Uprising, Te Kuaka – NZ Alternative, Peace Movement Aotearoa, Peace Action Wellington, Auckland Peace Action, Aotearoa Philippines Solidarity and social justice activists.

Over 1,700 New Zealanders have already signed a petition in the last two years demanding the government not send troops, this year or in future, to this large-scale military exercise.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ardern’s visit should focus on peace, decolonisation

Peace Action Wellington says that Jacinda Ardern’s trip to Washington DC and meeting with US President Joe Biden should focus on peace and decolonisation in the Pacific.

US Pacific Fleet

“Jacinda Ardern’s visit comes immediately on the heels of Joe Biden’s trip to Japan for a meeting of the ‘Quad’ – the US, Australia, India and Japan – that intends to dramatically increase militarisation of the Pacific region. Ardern’s own visit to Japan recently also stressed growing military cooperation,” said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

“All of this must be seen as a direct response to Chinese military expansion in the region. China now has the world’s largest navy and is seeking security pacts with Pacific nations.”  

“Against the backdrop of the horror in Ukraine and increased military spending by both the US and New Zealand, it is imperative that we push for a vision of a peaceful and decolonised Pacific. This should be the focus of Ardern’s trip to Washington.”

“We think that this ‘tit for tat’ is a step in the wrong direction, and risks greatly increasing the risks of a Pacific war.”

“Instead of more weapons and military deployments across the region, we need some real leadership with a vision of a demilitarised and decolonised Pacific region. Jacinda Ardern and Nanaia Mahuta could be champions for a real indigenous-centred peace processes across the region that sought to build trust between peoples, and that put the issue of Pacific decolonisation squarely back on the table.”

“The ‘security’ that both the US and China promote simply means their control over critical shipping routes, over resources and over markets. It is not security from the impending crisis of climate change, nor of the ongoing impacts of nuclear weapons testing and radioactive waste. It is not a security that cares for refugees fleeing war nor one that guarantees all people the right to determine their own futures.”

“The people of Guam, Hawai’i, New Caledonia, West Papua, American Samoa and French Polynesia are still not free from imperialist rule.”

“We strongly urge Ardern to use her trip to Washington to promote peace and decolonisation in the Pacific. By developing strategies to dial down military spending, training and deployments while devising trust building exercises we could begin to chart a very different and very positive future.” 

“The military build up of the region is a catastrophe in the making. We must do everything in our power to work for real peace and decolonisation.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment