Cancel RIMPAC video plea issued

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.

WATCH THE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE

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.

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