Open Arms NOT Firearms: A public meeting on the Weapons Industry and the Refugee Crisis

PAW public meeting webPeace Action Wellington warmly invites you to our public meeting at St.
John’s Community Hall on Wednesday the 21st of October at 6pm.

In a world where countries and companies seek to profit from war it should
be no surprise that there is a tide of refugees fleeing war torn countries
such as Syria. While the government makes minor increases in our refugee
quota, it continues to support bombing campaigns and occupations in the
Middle East which only make the problem worse.

On November 17th and 18th Wellington city plays its own part in the cycle
of endless war by hosting 2015’s annual Weapons Conference,
in which companies get a chance to network and promote themselves as
legitimate industries rather than the war profiteers that they are.

What has happened about the conference in the past?
What is happening about the upcoming conference?
How big is the weapons industry in Aotearoa?
What can we do about it?

Come along and share kai and conversation on these important topics.

Wednesday, 21st October, 6pm
St. John’s in the city, Community Hall, Willis st



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What you can do to stop the 2015 Weapons Conference

Hey folks. Here’s a few ideas about what you can do to shut down the weapons conference:

  1. Plan now to come to our actions – take the day off & stand up for peace and justice in our community
    Blockade the Conference – Tuesday, 17 Nov 8am meet @ Frank Kitts Park
    Block Party against weapons & war – Wednesday, 18 Nov 6pm at TSB Arena
  2. Come to our public meeting – Wednesday, 21 October @ St Johns Church Hall, corner Willis/Dixon Streets at 6pm
  3. Join our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter (@PeaceActionWGNT)
  4. Spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues – you can print posters, leaflets or make a stencil
  5. Visit our regular stall, sign the petition and get a cool “Stop the Weapons conference” t-shirt, badge or bag
  6. Tell the Mayor and Councillors to take a principled position. We are encouraging Celia Wade-Brown, the Executive Leader of the Mayors for Peace to take a principled stand against the Weapons Conference. Please contact the Mayor and other Councillors and encourage them to say “NO” to hosting the Weapons Conference in Wellington, a Peace City.
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 Refugee crisis result from US wars

“Over the past week, the world has become acutely aware of the plight of people fleeing from wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. New Zealanders have sought to open their homes to refugees and are demanding an immediate expansion in the number of people accepted here for resettlement. This is fantastic,” said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse

ZA'ATARI, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 01: Children pose for a picture as Syrian refugees go about their daily business in the Za'atari refugee camp on February 1, 2013 in Za'atari, Jordan. Record numbers of refugees are fleeing the violence and bombings in Syria to cross the borders to safety in northern Jordan and overwhelming the Za'atari camp. The Jordanian government are appealing for help with the influx of refugees as they struggle to cope with the sheer numbers arriving in the country. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 160600686

ZA’ATARI, JORDAN – FEBRUARY 01: Children pose for a picture as Syrian refugees go about their daily business in the Za’atari refugee camp on February 1, 2013 in Za’atari, Jordan. Record numbers of refugees are fleeing the violence and bombings in Syria to cross the borders to safety in northern Jordan and overwhelming the Za’atari camp. The Jordanian government are appealing for help with the influx of refugees as they struggle to cope with the sheer numbers arriving in the country. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 160600686

“At this stage, it is critical that we extend not only our empathy and compassion to those seeking to escape from war, but we examine the West’s participation in creating the disaster in the first place.”

“For more than 14 years, New Zealand has been at war alongside the US in Afghanistan. The GCSB and NZSAS directed bombing raids across the country in support of the US invasion and occupation. The GCSB continues to supply signals intelligence for US drone strikes. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that there are 3.7 million Afghan refugees.”(1)

“We already know of the specific human rights abuses committed by NZDF soldiers in Afghanistan including the raid on Band-e-Timur. The refugee situation is the macro-issue created by the ongoing occupation and murderous drone campaign of the US government.”

“In Iraq, New Zealand has deployed soldiers to ‘train’ the Iraqi Army. This Army has a well-documented history grave human rights abuses against civilians including ‘torture, summarily executing civilians – including children – and even beheading captives.'”(2,3)

“New Zealand’s participation in Iraq is not limited to the 2015 deployment. New Zealand supported the US/UK occupation in 2003 following the initial invasion. A NZDF company was deployed to serve with the British in Basra.”

“The humanitarian disaster happening today is the direct and inevitable consequence of the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the 2003 war in Iraq. New Zealand bears some responsibility in both cases.”

“When we talk about foreign policy, the New Zealand state likes to say it ‘punches above its weight.’ Certainly when it comes to joining wars of aggression with US, UK and Australia that is certainly the case.”

“Peace Action Wellington has been calling for the withdrawal of all New Zealand support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for more than a decade. We renew that call. We sincerely hope that the horror that we are witnessing as millions of people flee for their lives encourages people to think critically about New Zealand’s foreign policy and military alignments, and work to end all NZ support for the ‘War on Terrorism’.”


(1)Watson Institute of International Affairs. Brown University.

(2) “Iraqi militias have destroyed villages and displaced thousands, NGO says” The Guardian.

(3)Open Letter to MPs from Harmeet Sooden: Deployment to Iraq

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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)

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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