New Weapons conference campaign page

The Weapons Conference campaign page has been published to provide a resource to the community seeking information about the NZ Defence Industry and their annual conference. We will continue to publish materials as they become available. You will find resources for campaigning – like images, leaflets and posters – as well as research that we are doing to create a fuller picture of the extend of the development of a home-grown weapons industry in New Zealand. If you have any knowledge that you think would be useful, please email us – peacewellington(at)riseup.net

We hope you can get involved in organising. Come along to our fortnightly planning meetings – 6pm on Wednesdays at Trades Hall 126 Vivian Street.

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War and YOU

War means many things to many people.

War can be the setting for an action movie, an exciting game for children armed with plastic guns, a distant memory of grandad in an old brown photograph.

To most of us in New Zealand today, war appears as fifty second TV news flashes. Sometimes it looks awful, but it doesn’t harm us, and it’s soon gone. We are aware of war as a tiny thing in our lives.

To millions of other people sharing the planet, war is the central thing in their lives. War means your home, your workplace, your school or your hospital being bombed. War means not enough to eat and no clean water to drink. War means your friends and relatives being killed, raped and maimed.

New Zealand troops are accessories to these crimes. In Afghanistan and Iraq, countries with no designs on New Zealand, New Zealand soldiers have committed war crimes.

To ordinary people, this makes no sense.  We have no quarrel with people in distant lands.

To our rulers, sending troops to support US-led invasions makes good sense. New Zealand troops are a tangible part of Western alliances—a reminder that New Zealand companies deserve favourable terms of international trade. War is also a growing local business. Armament and war related manufacturing are a multimillion-dollar New Zealand enterprise.

War is the ultimate hypocrisy. In New Zealand today, if a person is proved to have deliberately killed someone, they are punished with imprisonment and locked up to prevent more murder being done, that is, unless a person is a member of the armed forces. Then, if they kill people they will be paid, congratulated and may even be decorated with medals.

When you stop and think about it, war is inhumane and crazy. The only benefit of war is the enrichment of a tiny few.

War is not a natural disaster that just happens. War doesn’t ‘break out’; it is carefully planned and executed. If enough people put pressure on our rulers, war can be resisted and stopped. The realisation of this powerful truth is what brings Peace Action Wellington out onto the streets.

In Peace Action Wellington there is room for people to give a lot or a little. We welcome you to join us in working for peace with justice and self-determination.

If you would like a copy of this for distribution, click here: War and YOU to print

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Stop the Weapons conference – poster available

We’ve got a nifty new conference poster poster to announce the anti-war action to STOP the Weapons Conference on 17 Nov. It would be great if you can print one off and post it around your school/workplace/community centre/library or local cafe. We’re building up to a big day of action and we want to have lots of people like you involved.

Peace Action Wellington meetings are open to all interested people with a desire to stop war and to stop this weapons conference (no police or spies please:)). We meet on Wednesdays fortnightly at 17 Tory Street in Wellington. Our next meeting is Wed, Aug 19 at 6pm.

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Weapons conference event on Facebook

PAW facebook event banner

The Weapons Conference is now an event on Facebook – here you can keep up with developments in our plans for the day.

The conference is bigger than ever – with 200 of the world’s biggest weapons manufacturers coming to town – and we want to shut it down for good.

Why not take the day off from work or school & stand up for peace and justice in our community? It’s up to us to make it happen.

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Peace Action Wellington prepares petition drive to stop weapons conference – can you help?

Members of Peace Action Wellington will be on the streets starting next week doing stalls and gathering signatures for our petition to stop the weapons conference. Look for us on Cuba Mall, Lambton Quay, the Railway station and the weekend markets. We would love more people to help – please email us if you have a little time to collect signatures peacewellington(at)riseup.net

Here’s what our display looks like

What is the weapons conference display panelsWhat is the weapons conference display panels2 smaller

Each year, Wellington is host to 200 of the world’s largest weapons and arms manufacturers. Under the name ‘the Defence Industry Conference’ these companies come to town to meet and plan how to make money from war. The event has been going on annually for the past 18 years.

This year, the conference is being held at the TSB Arena on 17-18 November.  The theme is Defence Security and Industry—Expanding our Horizons and Strengthening the ANZAC Relationship.

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Stop the Weapons Conference campaign launched!

Peace Action Wellington has today started our campaign to stop this year’s weapons conference. We’ve issued a media statement condemning the Mayor’s support of the conference, and we’ve published a helpful guide What you need to know about weapons conference 2015

Each year, Wellington is host to 200 of the world’s largest weapons and arms manufacturers. Under the name ‘the Defence Industry Conference’ these companies come to town to meet and plan how to make money from war.

This year, the conference is being held at the TSB Arena on 17-18 November.

We would like to organise activities to get in the way of those who want to make a profit from killing and destruction. For that, we will need lots of people. The conference is headed to a bigger venue this year – one owned by the Wellington City Council. We don’t think there should be weapons conferences anywhere in the world, and it is particularly shameful that it is happening in the nuclear-free capital of nuclear-free New Zealand with a Mayor who is the Executive Leader of the international Mayors for Peace.

We believe that war profiteers must be confronted, and their activities stopped or impeded. One year, we deployed a ‘clown army’ that blockaded the entrances to Te Papa, where the conference was being held. This action stopped day one of the conference and caused Te Papa to cancel further bookings for the conference.

We are grassroots and community-based, and everyone with a passion for these issues is welcome to become involved.

We meet fortnightly on Wednesdays at 17 Tory Street at 6pm.  Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 24 June. Get in touch or just come along. We hope to see you then.

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ACTION ALERT – New “Defence” paper seeks public comment

The NZ Defence Force is currently consulting on new defence policy. Public meetings are being held throughout the country. You can go along and tell the minister (Gerry Brownlee) what you think of NZ’s role in war-making around the world. Meeting schedule is here

Submissions are due on 22 June and can be made online here.

Here’s a defence policy we like:
-No waging wars with the US
-No NZ support for the ‘war on terrorism’
-No racist anti-terrorism laws
-No mass spying
-Disband the military and intelligence services

You can also get involved with Peace Action activities in Wellington. Here’s a great (funny) video of our submission to the minister in 2009:

Some points to make about the defence white paper

The lie of national security
“National security and interests” are commonly used terms in the document, but the security and interests that are being protected are not that of ordinary people to a home, a job, heath care or a future for their children. Instead, “national security and interests” are that of big business and the rich to continue to operate unimpeded, and in expanding their markets and profits.

The instability of the world
The consultation document says that world is an increasingly uncertain place, but it refuses to acknowledge that this situation is in large part due to the US-led invasions and occupations of which New Zealand was an integral part. The document actually says that NZ has been involved in ‘stabilisation and reconstruction’ in Afghanistan. The reality is that after New Zealand’s longest ever war, Afghanistan is destroyed: more than 30,000 Afghan people are dead and the Taliban looks set to reclaim power. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands more have sought to flee Afghanistan and Iraq only to be turned away by the West with the argument that they “threaten the values we rely on.”

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. NZ Air Force Orions, Navy Frigates and the Special Air Service (NZSAS), along with Defence Force intelligence agents were deployed in support of these wars. The US and its allies and friends have completely destabilised the Middle East, destroying the lives of millions of people, displacing whole communities and committing widespread atrocities while funneling vast quantities of weapons into the area ensuring continued war for decades to come.

The government claims that the NZDF are in Iraq now to “help,” but the evidence of 14 years of war in the Middle East clearly demonstrates that military force is the cause of the problem, not the solution to it.

Climate change
The consultation document claims to lay out the strategic environment facing New Zealand but totally ignores climate change and the effects of it on our Pacific neighbours. Already climate refugees are being created, and soon whole nations may disappear.

The document also fails to address how the military itself sees its responsibility as an organisation using significant fossil fuel resources to respond to climate change.

Human rights
The consultation document says that ‘the rules and values we rely on are increasingly under threat’ yet serious allegations of human rights abuses against the NZDF regarding their deployment in Afghanistan were made and never formally investigated or answered. The NZ government and Defence Force are clearly one of the significant threats to the “values we rely on.”

Moreover, the Navy was deployed against peaceful protesters in the Bay of Plenty who were standing up to a multinational oil company that had come to survey the ocean for oil. The use of the military against domestic dissent is the mark of an authoritarian state committed to advancing the interests of the powerful against the powerless.

Military expenditure
The military is a waste of essential resources that could be used productively.The largest government purchase of military hardware in the past decade was nearly a billion dollars spent on NH90 helicopters that don’t work for the one useful thing they might do: disaster relief. Despite being assured by the head of the defence for that “equipment on operations is world-class and suitable for their role,” these helicopters were unable to be used recently in Vanuatu. It is unclear that they were really ever intended for that purpose.

The kind of defence and security on offer in this document is not what ordinary people need. We need houses, heath care, education and decent work – not participation in endless global wars of terror under the guise of ‘fighting terrorism,’ ‘peacekeeping’ or ‘reconstruction.’

 

 

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