Today Peace Action Wellington (PAW) is releasing a short film in response to the arms industry’s attack on our campaign against war profiteering in Aotearoa.
View the film here
On October 10, the annual New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) Weapons Expo begins. Global and local arms companies will vie to land contracts with the Defence Force.
Last week the weapons industry mouthpiece, DefSec Media, issued a press release responding to Wellington Mayor Justin Lester banning the NZDIA Weapons Expo from council-owned and -controlled venues, after PAW brought the issue to his attention.
“These arms companies complain that our blockades damage their business. But the arms trade is far from an innocuous line of business,” said PAW spokesperson Alex Davis.
“Like tobacco companies and child labour, these companies profit from the suffering of other people. The fostering of local employment and enterprise should not eclipse their ethical culpability.”
“The Expo’s principal sponsor is Lockheed Martin, who make nuclear weapons, which violates the spirit of Aotearoa’s proud non-nuclear stance. Notwithstanding their nuclear portfolio, they remain the largest weapons manufacturer in the world, making weapons that rain down hell on Yemen, Iraq and Syria.”
Lockheed is only one of the many large weapons companies that will attend the Expo. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) compiles a list every year of the world’s top 100 arms dealers. Aside from Lockheed (#1 global arms dealer), weapons companies Northrop Grumman (#5), General Dynamics (#6), Thales (#10), Saab (#31), Serco (#39), ThyssenKrupp (#59), and Cubic Defence (#90) will all be in attendance.
“The local companies we obstruct when we blockade the annual Expo include Lower Hutt company MAS Zengrange, who manufacture parts for mortar firing systems and sell them to Saudi Arabia, who have in turn been relentlessly bombing civilians in Yemen. Another company in attendance is Pacific Aerospace, who are being investigated for unlawful exports after their plane ended up in North Korea,” said Alex.
“Disturbingly, DefSec took language from the battlefield and applied it to our peace group and to our campaign opposing war profiteering.
“They labelled last year’s successful blockade and protest of the Expo in Auckland as a “blunt weapon,” and referred to companies who may have missed out on contracts and profits as “collateral damage.” This language is unpardonable and offensive given the real “collateral damage” – the innocent people who are being massacred in war.
“DefSec say they recognise our right to protest against the weapons industry. Will they then object if there is a militarised police presence at the blockade to assault and detain protesters? Or will there be a repetition of the mass arrests (and failed prosecutions) of demonstrators that took place during the 2015 blockade of the Expo at the TSB Arena?
“The arms trade as a whole needs to be tackled, and not just the worst excesses of it. It serves to aggravate global instability and misery and we should dismantle the industry wherever we find it. With this in mind, PAW and our supporters invite New Zealanders to stand up for peace and join us for the blockade of the Weapons Expo on 10th & 11th October.”
For more information visit our website: www.stopthearmstrade.nz