A month out from the start of RIMPAC, the US Navy led military wargames, peace groups are calling on Minister of Defence Ron Mark to pull the plug on NZ’s involvement this year with a special video message.
New Zealanders are totally opposed to supporting a new cold war in the Pacific between the US and China. Sending a NZ warship along to these exercises indicates that New Zealand has sided with the US. This is a dangerous and unnecessary position.
We have a huge history of promoting a nuclear-free and independent Pacific. That vision needs reinforcing, not undermining.
New Zealanders do not want to be a part of the military build-up in the Pacific – a build-up that has significantly accelerated in the last five years. Yet this Minister appears to be on a warpath with his insistence upon sending sailors during a pandemic and his strident defence of his new weapons purchases including $102 million for armoured vehicles that were just replaced during the last Labour government.
We have heard very little from the Labour Party or the Green Party on these key peace issues. This is in spite of our original letter to the Prime Minister asking her to reconsider New Zealand’s deployment this year, and the Greens historical support of peace and justice. We want to know why the relevant politicians are mute, and why Cabinet is sending troops and technology off for provocative wargames and funnelling billions to weapons dealers for unnecessary arms purchases that are so out-of-step with the priorities of ordinary people.
This government needs to carefully consider New Zealand’s military relationships, training exercises and spending. Ignoring the changing geo-political landscape and blindly following the US is a recipe for disaster. We need a renewed commitment to demilitarising the Pacific.
- Video message on YouTube: https://youtu.be/gxfquSMA5zk
- The United States Navy will sponsor the 27th Rim of the Pacific exercise, Aug. 17-31. https://www.cpf.navy.mil/news.aspx/130607
- RIMPAC has been significantly scaled back from the usual six weeks to two weeks, and will be “at sea” only although ships can dock for supplies at Pearl Harbour.
- It has been reported that neither Israel or Chile will attend RIMPAC due to Covid-19
- The Australian Defence Force has reported new Covid-19 cases, including one ADF officer being the ninth case in Papua New Guinea demonstrating the impact of foreign military personnel in places where the health system is not equipped to cope with an outbreak of the virus.
- Action Station Petition link: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/cancel-rimpac-2020-new-zealand-withdraw-1