2006 Press releases

Media Release: March in opposition to the NZ Government’s Pacific Island Incursions Date: 30 November 2006  

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) opposes the recent incursion of New Zealand troops and cops into Tonga, and New Zealand’s role as increasingly viewing itself as the ‘policeman’ of the entire South Pacific.

The New Zealand Government’s continued meddling as ‘Sheriff of the Pacific’ has prompted PAW to hold a march and street theatre in Wellington on Friday 1 December, leaving Manners Mall (Cuba Mall end) at 12 noon and marching to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Headquarters in Stout Street.

“Goff, Clark and Peters will have us believe that New Zealand troops are engaged in peacekeeping, yet the question seldom asked is whose peace is the NZDF keeping and whose interests are they really serving,” said Peace Action Wellington member, Valerie Morse.   “In Tonga New Zealand troops and cops have been doing nothing less than solidifying the corrupt regime of a feudal king.”

“These military incursions are really just thinly veiled neo-colonial invasions intended to ensure that Pacific Island nations adhere to a global neo-liberal agenda to serve the wealthy nations of the Pacific rim,” said Valerie Morse.

“An agenda that includes the privatisation of state assets and the ongoing push to secure free trade deals – where the free flow of capital and commerce reigns supreme over the well-being of citizens.”

In the Solomon Islands New Zealand is assisting an Australian multinational mining corporation secure its access to the lucrative gold mine on the island of Guadalcanal, all under the benign sounding Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

“Peace Action Wellington demands an end to all New Zealand military invasions in the Pacific. We support self determination for the people of the Pacific that includes freedom from Western capitalist intervention,” concluded Valerie Morse.

Media Release: Protest Against Deployment of Troops to Tonga
Date: 20 November 2006

Peace Action Wellington opposes the deployment of the New Zealand military and police   to Tonga and will protest outside the New Zealand Defence Headquarters in Stout Street,   Wellington, today (Monday, 20th November) from 12:30pm.

“The Labour Government has supported recent occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and are   yet again eagerly sending soldiers and police into the pacific islands,” said Valerie Morse,   a member of Peace Action Wellington.

“These troops are serving in the interests of the feudal class in Tonga, while crushing   people’s desire for change.”

“We stand in solidarity with the people’s resistance in Tonga and support them in their   struggle for self determination,” said Valerie Morse.

Media Release: Kiwi Troops Return From Propping Up US Occupation  
Date: 26 October 2006  

The NZDF is welcoming home another round of soldiers from Afghanistan and congratulated them   on helping to ‘reconstruct’ the country. They have been doing such a great job propping up the US   occupation of the country, nobody has bothered to remember that no one invited them there in the   first place.

‘The US invasion and five-year occupation of Afghanistan is motivate by just one thing – a greedy desire   for strategic control of Central Asia. The Bush regime uses clever propaganda about the treatment of   women and human rights to convince us that their mission is just. It is not’ said Peace Action Wellington   member Valerie Morse.

‘Lest we forget, there are several NZDF staff officers based at Bagram Air Force Base, the site of   well-documented torture carried out by the US military. Thousands of people have been killed by the   indiscriminate bombing of the country by the US and its allies.’

‘The NZDF is complicit in these crimes by continuing to serve under the US army command. NZ troops   go in order that Fonterra can sell more milk, and that NZ gets consideration for a free trade with the US.’

‘If the Labour government really wants to help the Afghani people they would do well to support local   non-governmental agencies rather than send troops to prop up the US-puppet government of Hamid   Karzai. There are plenty of capable engineers, builders and teachers in Afghanistan, they hardly need   NZ soldiers to do this work.’   Peace Action Wellington demands an end to all NZ involvement in US wars of conquest.

Media Release: Peace Action shuts down weapons conference  
Date: 18 October 2006 

Peace activists from all over the country converged outside Te Papa ‘Our Place’ to reclaim it   from the annual weapons conference meeting happening there.  The march of approximately 200 people met at Pigeon Park and marched to the Te Papa  forecourt where six blockades of entrances were set up.   The Police, hired security guards and delegates attacked people as they participated in a non-violent   sit-in, punching one woman in the face and hitting another person with a car.

The NZ Defence Industry Assocation Conference is a trade meeting of some 200 weapons   manufacturers from all over the world. Despite this, the Labour Minister of Disarmament, Phil  Goff thought it appropriate to speak at the conference and encourage these war profiteers.  For more information about the conference and further resistance activities today, please   check out http://www.peacewellington.tk

Media Release: Peace Action to stop the weapons conference
Date: 16 October 2006  

People from all over Wellington will be marching to stop the weapons conference due to happen at Te Papa on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. A colourful march will leave Pigeon Park (Te Aro   Park) at 12 noon on Tuesday and go to the forecourt of Te Papa.

‘Weapons manufacturers from 200 of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers are meeting at our national museum for the annual NZ Defence Industry Association conference, we want to give them a strong message that those who profit from bloodshed and war are not welcome here’ said Valerie  Morse, member of Peace Action Wellington, one of the groups organising the activities tomorrow.

‘Te Papa is not an appropriate venue for such a conference. It has a statutory responsibility to ensure   that ‘it is a place of pride for all New Zealanders’ but how can people be proud of a place that hosts   weapons manufacturers?’

‘Peace Action Wellington is deeply concerned about the Labour Party’s support for the development of   a weapons industry. Auckland-based company, Rakon, has been given over $600,000 in government   money in the past 5 years. This is the company that makes parts for US guided ‘smart bombs’ that have   been used in Iraq and Lebanon. The government is giving material support to these illegal wars by helping   to supply their militaries. We think that is abhorrent.’

‘We are not going to stand by and let these merchants of death meet at Our Place. We welcome all forms   of resistance to the conference. There will be music and food on the forecourt and we encourage people  to bring friends and family along to join in the peace action.’   More information about the weapons industry can be found at http://www.peacewellington.tk

Media Release: ‘Kill more for less’ coming soon to Te Papa
Date: 29 September 2006 

There will be an arms sale on the streets of Wellington on Saturday to promote the upcoming Weapons conference due to happen at Te Papa on 17 and 18 October. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Kill more for less’.

Arms salespeople will be handing out coupons redeemable at Te Papa for one New Zealand made hand grenade during the conference.   Weapons saleswoman Daisy Chain said of the conference, ‘It is a great opportunity for people to get in on the lucrative international arms trade. There will be representatives from 200 of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers at the conference – many of them with valuable experience in war profiteering in Iraq and Afghanistan.’

‘Te Papa is a great venue for the weapons conference. We want to make it possible for everyone to committ war crimes, torture, and genocide. What better way to do this than through the nation’s preeminent cultural institution?’

‘This is the fourth year that Te Papa is hosting the conference. We are grateful that the Te Papa management team and the Labour Government have been so supportive of a home-grown weapons industry. War is great for business, after all!’   You can find out more about the upcoming conference by visiting http://www.tepapa.tk

MEDIA RELEASE:Weapons conference organisers and war profiteers bombarded
DATE: 12 September 2006  

The campaign against the weapons conference stepped up another notch yesterday. Weapons companies based in New Zealand and their supporters, were bombarded with phone calls, faxes and emails, demanding that they abort plans to hold a weapons conference at Te Papa in October, and end weapons production in Aotearoa, including the Government’s financial support to weapons companies. The targets of the action were not only Te Papa, but Trade and Enterprise NZ, the government agency responsible for funding weapons research and development and MAS Zengrange, a Lower Hutt based company that makes computer systems to control mortar and artillery fire.

“People from throughout New Zealand have let weapons companies, and those providing them with a platform to do their dirty work, directly know what they think of a weapons conference being held at Te Papa in October,” said Valerie Morse, spokesperson for the broad coalition of groups campaigning to stop the weapons conference.

“Section 8c of the Museum of New Zealand Act 1992 states that a museum has the responsibility to ensure that it is a source of pride for all New Zealanders. Yet how can Te Papa be a source of pride when they’re opening their doors to companies that profit from war and human misery?”

MAS Zengrange, as well as Auckland-based companies Oscmar and Rakon were the merchants of death of focus in today’s action. In the last year there has been increasing public exposure of their role in the manufacture of components for weapons and ongoing profiteering from war.

“It is absolutely disgusting that companies like Rakon, who have received financial assistance from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and who picked up their Trade & Enterprise Export Award in 2004, are manufacturing crystal oscillators for the guidance systems of US smart bombs,” said Ms Morse.

“This conference gives companies like MAS Zengrange, who manufacture weapons firing control systems and communication systems for mortar and artillery batteries, the chance to rub shoulders with a number of international war mongers. Previous conferences have included delegates from General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin, two of the world’s largest manufacturers of arms including ballistic missiles, as well as Halliburton, Sikorsky Helicopters and the US Army.”

If this year’s conference goes ahead then this will be the third year in a row that the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) has gathered at Te Papa. Established in 1993, the NZDIA is made up of 37 companies. The NZDIA and its members have strong ties with the NZ Defence Force, Ministry of Defence and the Government’s national economic development agency, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

“The campaign to stop the weapons conference will continue until Te Papa slams the door shut on the weapons conference and weapons production in Aotearoa has been brought to a halt,” concluded Valerie Morse.

Media Release: Stop the Weapons Conference Campaign Launch  
Date: Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Campaign to stop annual weapons conference at Te Papa will be launched on Saturday   evening, September 2 at Crossways Community Hall in Mt. Vic.  Peace Action Wellington and Peace Movement Aotearoa are jointly co-ordinating the campaign.

Members of the public and journalists are invited along to the campaign launch at 6:30pm that  will include a community dinner, presentations and films.  The weapons conference is a two-day meeting of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association.   Over the last four years, the Association has been hosting the conference at Te Papa – ‘Our Place’.

At this conference New Zealand companies showcase wares developed for military use and multinational   weapons manufacturers network about new technology and lucrative contracts. Representatives from   corporations such as Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of a wide range of weapons and missile systems,   are in attendance. In 2006, the conference is scheduled for 17 & 18 October.

Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse said, “Last year, we had a great campaign leading   up to the conference and a very successful blockade of the conference. We hope that people from   all walks of life will join the campaign this year.”   “The revelation that NZ company Rakon is making parts for US ‘smart bombs’ – those currently   being used in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan – makes NZ complicit in these illegal and immoral   wars of conquest. They are helping to make better killing machines for the US and Israeli Armies   and literally hundreds of thousands of civilians are dying.”

“The people of Aotearoa New Zealand will not be willing participants in Bush’s wars. Stopping   the weapons conference is one way we can make sure that we give no aid to commit war crimes.”

Media Release: Weapons conference arrests disgraceful and unlawful
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2006  

Peace activists achieved a great victory in Wellington District Court today as the last remaining charge of those against the 20 people arrested at last year’s protest against the weapons conference at Te Papa was dismissed.

The charge of trespass against Peace Action member Nick Henry was dismissed following an application by police to offer no evidence.   “This is a vindication of our position that the Trespass Act can not be used to prevent protest in a public place” said Nick Henry   “None of the 20 people arrested were convicted of any charge. The arrests were simply a means for Te Papa management to remove people who were lawfully voicing opposition to the Defence Industry Association annual conference.”

“The hosting of a weapons conference at Our Place is offensive to many New Zealanders. The National Museum should not be the marketplace for companies like Lockheed Martin to sell missiles.”

“Members of the Defence Industry Association claimed that no weapons would be on display yet an army tank and helicopter were showcased at the museum during the conference.”   Peace Action Wellington has an on-going campaign to stop the annual conference which is again scheduled to happen at Te Papa in October.

Media Release: March for peace and justice in Iraq
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2006  

On Saturday, March 18 people from around the world will march to mark the third year of occupation in Iraq, the fourth year of occupation in Afghanistan and to express outrage at the threat of military action in Iran. In Wellington, people will converge on Midland Park at 12 noon and march to the US Embassy. Other actions are also planned in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.

“Thousands more people are being tortured, raped, kidnapped and murdered as the illegal and immoral occupations in both Iraq and Afghanistan continue. The only solution is for the United States and all foreign troops to withdraw immediately and allow the people there to determine their own futures, free of interference and intimidation.” said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse

“The New Zealand Government must cease its involvement in the so-called War on Terrorism. The ‘War’ is simply a convenient name for pursing the US foreign policy goals of domination and strategic control of the Middle East and Central Asia. NZ is currently assisting by providing troops to serve in Afghanistan, intelligence information from the spy base at Waihopai and support for the referral of Iran to the UN Security Council.”

“The blood of hundreds of thousands of people are on the hands of George W Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard. On the eve of Blair’s visit to Auckland, Helen Clark should find the courage to condemn Blair’s war crimes and hold him to account.”

“We will never forget the crimes against humanity being committed in our names in these countries and we will struggle for an end to the occupations until justice is done. Join us in solidarity with the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world this Saturday.”



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