Peace Action Plan Climate Action

Peace Action Wellington is holding an info evening on Thursday, 21 October from 6-9pm at the Newtown Community Centre to discuss and plan a climate justice action to coincide with the international climate negotiations happening in Scotland, COP 26.

“The draft Emissions Reduction Plan that was released last week is totally inadequate so we will shut down the climate polluters ourselves.” said Valerie Morse, member of Peace Action Wellington.

Peace Action Wellington is planning a non-violent direct action for 5 and 6 November. The 5th of November is the day colonial troops invaded Parihaka as part of the war for land. A war which has never ended and links directly to white supremacy, extractivism and now climate change. The 6th of November is a Global Day of Action for climate justice.

“The government continues to grant fossil fuel exploration permits and excuse industrial dairy from emissions targets. We have lost faith that they act in the interest of ordinary people and the generations of New Zealanders to come. It is up to us to shut down these corporate polluters now, before the window of opportunity is closed forever,” said Valerie Morse, member of Peace Action Wellington.

“We still have time. This is a crisis. We can choose to stop destroying the earth now, or we can continue to live in denial by continuing business – and life – as it has been. We’ve got real solutions to address climate change right now, but we cannot allow polluters more time to clean up their act. They’ve had decades to change; but are instead profiting from the climate crisis. It is obscene and inexcusable. We need to prioritise taking care of people and the environment over business profits.”

“Many people live in fear of the realities of climate change. Our future is something we make together, it isn’t predetermined. We want an abundant, regenerative, compassionate and equitable society and we can have it, but we have to start making changes today.

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Australian nuclear submarines threaten South Pacific 

The decision by the Australian government to acquire nuclear-powered submarines is irresponsible and dangerous for the whole South Pacific region.

Adding more weapons to the mix of ongoing hostilities between Australia and China is more likely to lead to war in this region. Because of their longer range, nuclear-powered submarines are for offensive warfare, not self-defence. With this acquisition, they are admitting to seeking a fight with China.

The newly cemented alliance between the US, UK and Australia, and Australia’s massive buying of weapons is deeply troubling for the region. The arms race in the South Pacific is already at a fevered pace even before this announcement. We can expect that the Chinese will respond in kind by further ratcheting up their own arms proliferation.

The issue with nuclear-powered submarines isn’t just about their offensive war-making capability. The very production of them is an ecological catastrophe: devastating uranium mining and onboard nuclear reactors that produce radioactive waste are just two of the issues. That doesn’t address their eventual decommissioning, and the toxic remains.

As importantly, there are major safety and security issues with any nuclear material: any damage, failure or leak of material would be a catastrophe for human health and would leak radioactive material all throughout the South Pacific.

The US, UK and Australia have just extracted themselves from a disastrous 20-year-long war in Afghanistan with no real reflection on what they did there, and instead are launching themselves onto a path to another military confrontation. The US and UK appear to be incapable of adjusting their worldview to one in which they aren’t at the centre. That world is gone; their leadership, such that it ever existed, and claims to uphold freedom and democracy, died with their illegal invasion of Iraq and the massacre of millions of civilians.

New Zealanders are rightly proud of our nuclear-free stance. This decision by Australia, along with a number of other high profile issues between New Zealand and Australia, must prompt a serious strategic rethink of New Zealand’s own defence and foreign policy.

We are obviously deeply relieved that the New Zealand government has not signed up to this new alliance. We have choices to make: we can continue on the path of US-led global wars and empire building, or we can choose to chart an ethical foreign policy based upon the interconnection of all peoples on the planet and the necessity of protecting our life-giving ecological systems.

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No Guantanamo in New Zealand

“The Lynnmall terrorist attack was a terrible and utterly unnecessary tragedy, and more policing and surveillance is not the way to solve it. Education, rehabilitation, mental health support and social inclusion are the rational ways to deal with radicalised people,” says Valerie Morse of Peace Action Wellington.

“Predictably, conservatives are advocating for extreme policing including the creation of a Guantanamo Bay-like situation where people are imprisoned indefinitely, and stripping people of citizenship. This is the response of authoritarians, not free peoples.” 

“Their only answer to such events is more, more, more: more police, more prisons and more spies. The problem is that these responses don’t work. The Lynnmall situation is case in point: a programme of rehabilitation was ordered by the court for this person, but because the police continued to prosecute him and hold him in prison, this programme never eventuated.”

“That isn’t to say that rehabilitation and education always work. The issue is that neither does expanding terrorism laws. If we want total security then we give up the very freedoms that make New Zealand a free democracy. We can’t just keep making the scope of laws broader and broader. ”

“The proposed expansion of the Terrorism Suppression Act before the House goes too far in criminalising ‘thought crime’. At the same time, we have seen no effort by the New Zealand government to appropriately fund and resource efforts at deradicalisation, let alone appropriately fund mental health and refugee resettlement services.”

“If we boil it down, reactionaries just want to ‘lock ‘em up’ or ‘throw them out’. But unless we are prepared to keep people in prison forever – or deport them to create problems elsewhere like Australia does –  then we need to be smarter about how we deal with these issues.”

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French Embassy targeted to mark Hiroshima Day

The French Embassy will be targeted for its ongoing role in the nuclear poisoning of the Pacific by activists and artists following a day of kōrero and art-making at the Newtown Community Centre starting at 1pm on Saturday, 7th August.

“As we commemorate the horror of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, it is important to acknowledge that the impact of nuclear weapons and the ongoing effects of militarism and colonial oppression in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa have not stopped. Neither has the resistance by Pacific peoples,” says Peace Action member Valerie Morse.

Speakers at the event will include scholar and writer Dr. Emalani Case whose book Everything Ancient Was Once New: Indigenous Persistence from Hawaiʻi to Kahiki was published by UH Press in 2021. Emalani is active in the movement to demilitarise Hawai’i and stop RIMPAC, the biennial war games held in Hawai’i, as well as standing up for a free and independent Pacific

Indigenous Pacific Uprising (IPU) members Sina Brown-Davis and Tāwhana Chadwick will speak about the situation in Tahiti. IPU works to connect, amplify and uplift resistance and alternatives to colonial oppression in the Pacific.

The free event will also involve making activist art together including a banner expressing solidarity with the Ma’ohi Nui people and the recent day of action in Tahiti when thousands took to the streets under the slogan: Mai te Paura Ātōmī i te Tiāmara’a / From Bomb contamination to self determination.

The Ma’ohi Nui people were contaminated by French nuclear testing in 1974 and are still demanding reparations more than 40 years later.

Sina Brown Davis says, “the IPU stands with our Te Ao Maohi cousins and their fight for self-determination. Tahitian independence would have ensured that France would not have poisoned lands, waters and peoples with their nuclear testing. There can be no Pacific liberation without self determination. We must decolonise now.”

“We are continuing our commitment to ethical remembering and active opposition of structures which colonise, extract, displace, and destroy for profit, “ says Ms Morse. “While as a nation we have been firm in our rejection of nuclear arms in our waters, we must look further ashore and listen to the voices of self-determination in the Pacific and reject militarism.”

The event will end at the French Embassy.

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On the 70th Anniversary of ANZUS, NZDF in massive war exercises

Peace Action Wellington opposes the NZDF’s involvement in Exercise Talisman Sabre, a joint US-Australian military training, happening in Queensland this week.

“The Labour government has claimed to have an independent foreign policy, but this deployment of NZ troops, in the week marking the 70th anniversary of ANZUS, demonstrates that NZ has not yet truly attained independence from US imperial forces in the Pacific,” said Valerie Morse, member of Peace Action Wellington.

“The Defence Force’s primary interest in these exercises is in being able to blend in seamlessly with the US and Australian militaries. War exercises like these, along with the unnecessary new weapons requisitions are merely to have the same training and gear as the US and Australia, not for New Zealand’s security.”

“New Zealand wants to appease our traditional allies, the US and Australia, while simultaneously not wanting to bring any attention to its participation and anger the Chinese. It is an attempt by the government to have their cake and eat it, too.”

“Exercise Talisman Sabre represents a real and present danger to peace and stability in the Pacific. This massive troop build up is a show of military aggression directed squarely at China, and it is deeply provocative.”

“The US administration may have changed, but the operations of the US military have not. They serve to protect US corporate power. The US pulled its support of New Zealand as part of the ANZUS Treaty to punish NZ for going nuclear-free, but the NZDF is back in there undermining our independence.”

“As the world’s climate crisis is accelerating, we have to urgently move away from the use of military might to uphold a fundamentally unequal and racist system. We need to put our resources towards creating a just, peaceful and resilient planet for all its inhabitants. War exercises like Talisman Sabre attempt to cement the rule of the powerful to continue their destruction and exploitation. They have absolutely nothing to do with improving the lives of people or our natural environment,” concluded Morse.

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