Give Peace A Dance

We are super excited to let you know that on Day 2 of the Weapons Expo protest at 445pm we are gonna have noise demo/dance party!  This is at the same time the Weapons Expo is going to be having cocktails and give out awards so we will have a party for peace outside. We have some sweet local bands lined up who we will announce soon. BYO noisemaker and dance moves. #GivePeaceADance

give peace a dance banner

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Wellington Central Candidates on the Weapons Expo

Wellington Central Candidates

Top L-R: Michael Warren, James Shaw, Gayaal Iddamalgoda, Grant Robertson. Bottom L-R: Nicola Willis, Andy Foster, Geoff Simmons

We asked the 2017 Wellington Central candidates two questions.

1) Is it appropriate for the Westpac Stadium/Wellington to host the Weapons Expo?

2) What is your position on the $20 billion defence budget the government announced last year?

Find out the responses below…

Act Party – Michael Warren
No response.
We looked and could not find an ACT policy on defence.

Green Party – James Shaw
A senior staffer replied on behalf of the Green party:
“The Green Party does not believe these conferences should be held in public places, such as the Westpac Stadium. We recognise the need of NZ Armed Forces to gain knowledge of weapons system for procurement, but there seems to be no reason this needs to be managed as a public event.

We prefer that such conferences not be held in New Zealand, but if they are,they should be held in military facilities. There is no public interest in holding them in civilian areas.

We find it very odd that a weapons conference is being held in Wellington, in particular, given that is labelled as a ‘peace city’.

In answer to your second question, yes. There are much better things to spend $20b on including the things you mention.* The Greens will stand up and say so.”

*We mentioned hospitals, schools, the housing crisis, and child poverty.

Independent – Gayaal Iddamalgoda
Gayaal is representing the Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign. The photo of Gayaal is from the 2015 Weapons Expo protest. He is going to be protesting the Weapons Expo again this year.

Labour Party – Grant Robertson
We got a reply thanking us for our email and saying they would ensure Grant see our correspondence at the earliest opportunity. (insert tumbleweed sound)
Whilst we were waiting we looked up Labour’s defence policy which states “Labour broadly supports the capability upgrades outlined in the 2016 White Paper, but reserves the discretion to examine further if the proposed purchases meet capability requirements at the best value for money.”

National Party – Nicola Willis
No response.
Though Nicola did make a rather disagreeable face when we said people should protest the Weapons Expo at the Hiroshima Day commemoration in August. National’s Defence White Paper 2016 outlined a spend of $20 billion over 15 years for the New Zealand Defence Force to “ensure it has the capabilities it needs to meet the country’s security and defence challenges”.

New Zealand First Party – Andy Foster
Andy replied: “Kia ora – when do you need a reply by?” and then he never wrote back…
So we checked out New Zealand First’s lengthy defence policy and one part said that they will, “Work within the fiscal parameters of the Defence Capability Plan to return offensive capabilities to the Royal New Zealand Air Force and enhance offensive capabilities of the Army and Navy.”

The Opportunities Party – Geoff Simmons
Top marks to Geoff who was the first to reply with:
“We are a new party and have 15 policies that will deliver systemic change. Defence and foreign affairs are not in those at this stage. We thoroughly research issues before coming to a policy position. If we are in Parliament and these issues arise we will consult our members, research the evidence and come to a position.”

Here is a short video to summarise this post:

(Clip taken from The Spinoff’s series ‘Make Me Tick’)
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 A Call To Arms

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

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Mayor Justin Lester says NZDIA Weapons Expo won’t be held in council venues

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) met with Mayor Justin Lester on 6th September 2017 to discuss the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) Weapons Expo returning to Wellington. Justin Lester said whilst he is Mayor, the NZDIA Weapons Expo will not be held in council-controlled venues.

Stuff: WCC-controlled venues spurn arms forum under mayor’s watch…

PAW welcomes the change in stance towards this arms-industry lobby group. Prior to the 2015 Weapons Expo, the group had asked the council take the ethical position and refuse to host the Weapons Expo at the council-owned TSB Arena. The Weapons Expo is a gathering of major arms manufacturers and war profiteers from across the globe. Many of these companies produce weapons for sale to political regimes that violate human rights.

Furthermore, the NZDIA Weapons Expo is currently sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms company and manufacturer of nuclear weapons. The Weapons Expo is therefore in contradiction to Wellington’s declared position as a ‘nuclear free’ city.

Peace Action Wellington were therefore pleased to hear that council-controlled venues would not host arms dealers but would like to see this written into council policy. Peace Action spokesperson Ellie Clayton said, “After discussion with Justin, we are working with the council to try and develop this into an official venue policy so the policy will continue when Justin is no longer Mayor.”

Mayor Lester’s decision, however, does not include the Westpac Stadium, which is owned and operated by the Wellington Regional Stadium Trust. This Trust is not a council-controlled organisation, but is rather a charitable trust jointly settled by Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. The Trust should therefore remain accountable to ratepayers. Accordingly, Peace Action Wellington currently have a petition to Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council, asking them to say no to the annual NZDIA Weapons Expo being held anywhere in the Wellington region.

Mayor Justin Lester said he would speak with Trust Chief Executive Officer Shane Harmon about the Weapons Expo. Earlier in the year, Peace Action Wellington tried to reach out to the Wellington Regional Trust but have not had a reply from the trustees. After mass arrests at the TSB Arena in 2015, Councillor Iona Pannett moved an amendment for a ethical venue policy preventing council venues being used by the arms industry, but this was defeated.

PAW is planning a protest at the Westpac Stadium in October. Clayton commented, “Peace Action Wellington maintain that companies profiting from the weapons trade is morally indefensible. Te Whanganui-a-Tara should not be tarnished with the business of war. We encourage the people of Wellington to stand up and show resistance to war profiteers by joining us at the protests on October 10-11.”

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Special report: Meet an arms dealer

Ever wondered what weapons dealers do all day? All is revealed in this special report by What The H*ck News! Meet CEO of local arms firm, Michael Crabsticks, to find out why he’s so excited about the upcoming Weapons Expo, 10th & 11th October at Wellington Westpac Stadium.

 

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We’re on the road to talk about the Weapons Expo!

roadshow

Peace on the road!
In the lead up to the Weapons Expo on October 10-11th, members of Peace Action are touring around to work with people interested in building a justice & peaceful society, and build momentum for the blockade. Are you interested in finding out about the Weapons Expo & how you can be involved in action to stop it? Do you want to learn some valuable skills in non-violent direct action & creative resistance? We’re taking Peace on the Road to get the word out about the Weapons Expo & our blockade.

Details will be updated on the Facebook event, or email us for more information. Here are the confirmed events so far:

* Whanganui – Thursday, 7 September @ 7-9pm Resource Centre (Education Room) hosted by the Whanganui Peace Action Group
* Palmerston North – Friday, 8 September @Snails, 7pm
* Palmerston North – Saturday, 9 September @ Snails, 2-6pm hosted by It’s Our Future Manawatu
* Hastings – Monday, 11 September (details tbc)
* Christchurch – Tuesday, 12 September @ 7:30pm, WEA 59 Gloucester St hosted by the Christchurch Progressive Network

Workshops in Wellington are going to be held a little later in September – we’ll let you know when we’ve got them confirmed!

Our workshops are a mix of talking and doing: learning, creating and practicing some tactics. You can come for any or all of it! Our workshops are a relaxed, kid-friendly atmosphere. Please join us and share the Facebook event or this email widely.
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Join the resistance!

You can now register to stand up for peace and disrupt the business of war.

Silent Vigil for Peace

Meet at the Gandhi statue in front of Wellington Railway Station. The vigils will be led by the Quakers. Monday 9th & Tuesday 10th October, 5-6:30pm.

Blockade the Weapons Expo!

Meet on the pedestrian overbridge to the Westpac Stadium, beside 90 Waterloo Quay. Tuesday 10th October, 7:30 am.

Walking Tour and video

Dress up fancy and put on your best walking shoes! We’ll meet outside the Railway Station for a video shoot about the weapons industry in Wellington. Wednesday 11th October, 10:30 am.

Make Tea Not War! Peace Picnic

On the lawn by the Gandhi statue, Wellington Railway Station. Come and have some food and drink as provided, be with old and new friends, listen to music, and discuss peace and politics! 12 noon-2.00pm Wednesday 11th. Sponsored by ‘Grannies for Peace’ and Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand.

Give Peace a Dance!

Party and noise demo against the arms trade. Disasteradio and Alexa Casino (woop!) will be keeping us entertained while we disrupt the awards ceremony and cocktail party inside. Bring earplugs and something to make some noise. Meet on the pedestrian overbridge to the Westpac Stadium, beside 90 Waterloo Quay. Wednesday 11th October, 4:45pm.

These events will run for as long as there is energy for them and so we can’t confirm finish times but feel free to come along after the advertised start time – follow updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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