Laurie Ross: 550+ Weapons Dealers and Naval War Games invade Auckland 'City for Peace'

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Laurie Ross: 550+ Weapons Dealers and Naval War Games invade Auckland 'City for Peace'

Auckland New Zealand, with all its Mayoral and Council pomp and celebration was designated a City of Peace in December 2011. Today it is hosting 20 visiting warships in its inner harbour and at the same time 550+ weapons dealers are gathering less than a kilometre from Auckland’s Queen St.

They are attending this harbourside Expo from the 16th and 17th November 2016 in order to tap into the NZ government’s $20 billion defence budget for new procurements.

In 2011 Auckland became a Peace City and that this resolution was ‘headed by a Peace Committee that Laurie was the Chair’, now finds itself as the focal point of a geo-strategic naval war game this month - less than 20 kilometres off the shores of Auckland city, when NZ is supposed to be a keen advocate on being a Nuclear Free Nation and working towards being a Neutral Peacemaker too.

As a result the Peace Movement of NZ is mobilising! All peace loving people are welcome to attend, a non violent demonstration prior to a blockade outside the ANZ expo centre. Details below.

The goal of this action is to bring both local and world attention to the fact that armaments and war are increasingly being pushed up the national and international priority list. Whilst, housing, health and social needs get less.

So what do we want the people of NZ and our government to do? Download and listen to Laurie.

Why is the military/industrial complex in New Zealand?

Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s largest nuclear weapons, electronics and ‘security’ corporations and has a presence in New Zealand currently encompassing over 200 employees and operating on six sites in Trentham, Palmerston North, Burnham, Wellington, Auckland and Waiouru.

Note that though Lockheed is the principal sponsor, (with a woman CEO of all things). The 90 other sponsors include General Dynamics, Hawker Pacific, ANZ, Airworks, Auckland University’s UniServices, Babcock NZ, Beca, Safe Air, AVIS, University of Canterbury Spatial Engineering Research Centre, Callaghan Innovation, Mainfreight, and Datacom Ltd.

What is militarism in present day terms? Plus why now here in NZ?

It is to celebrate “Seventy Five years of the NZ Navy” and act at the same time - as a cover for selling weapons.

Lack of Will & Diplomacy on a Global Scale. Why?

Today, we have an issue of nuclear weapons being intensified with Russia & China being reclassified as the adversary and that no attempt is being made to mobilise diplomatic efforts on a broad front to look at resolving these issues and de-escalating what it happening. Why not greater diplomacy and Citizen Diplomacy as in the Reagan Gorbachev era?

Note that President elect Trump has consistently stated he does not want confrontation with Russia, so let us trust that this is so. And he does not get infiltrated with Neocon advisers who subvert him.

New Zealand as a Nuclear Free Peacemaker?

For NZ there are many options to concentrate around Defence but not Offence and re focusing our Foreign policy of engaging in Peacemaking and Neutrality. Training up all personal in the defense forces in the many methods and modalities of peacekeeping, and helping the community that is being assisted to become more cohesive and functional. Emergency power, health, water, shelter and policing via the rule of law etc. Including mediation skills, food growing and education.

What can we do as a nation as we already have an educational program in place that is championed by the NZ Peace Foundation - called Cool Schools. That has been introduced to thousands of schools across NZ. Where children learn the skills of reconciling opposing points of view with peer remediation and conflict resolution. A huge export potential of this innovative method of bringing people together in a mode of ‘learned communication skills’ and equipping them for the future.

However. Laurie goes far deeper talking about systems and structures and how to lay out the protocols on a vaster scale, that also encompasses not only local areas suffering from some disaster, but to larger situations involving whole countries. Listen to the broadcast.

Laurie finishes with a prayer and a song.

This piece below is gratefully taken from Action Stations here in NZ.
No Weapons Expo, No Warships

We oppose the investment of billions of dollars in the military and new weaponry, which clearly does not deter terrorism, but rather contributes to violence, and war cycles.

We will not stand for the government supporting an arms expo for international weapons companies. This is proposed for 16 and 17 November 2016 in Auckland, sponsored by the world’s largest weapons manufacturer and maker of nuclear weapons, Lockheed Martin.

In June, 2016, the government announced $20 Billion of new spending on weaponry. At the same time, it extended an invitation to a US warship to visit NZ for the first time in 32 years. In November this year, this will all culminate in a week where warships dominate Auckland Harbour, and 500+ weapons dealers take over the ANZ Viaduct events centre for a trade show. The NZDF, Ministry of Defence and NZ Trade and Enterprise provide funding, personnel, equipment, displays and expertise for the Weapons Expo.

The $20 Billion new military spending includes the purchase of new warships and aggressive cyber warfare capabilities described by Minister Gerry Brownlee as a "significant weapon". This is despite that the government's own evidence that "the country does not face a direct military threat in the foreseeable future."

While billions are funnelled to multinational arms dealers, the real threats to ordinary people in New Zealand mount: poverty, homelessness, lack of adequate health care and catastrophic climate change.

Auckland Peace Action is a grassroots community group working to oppose the warships and the weapons expo. We believe that it is not possible to build a peaceful and just world while simultaneously acquiring ever more weapons and doing more planning for war. This petition is an important part of our campaign this year to bring pressure on the government. Join the campaign for peace!

[1] See "Does US Intervention overseas breed terrorism?" Foreign Policy Briefing. The Cato Institute.

[2] More information on the Weapons Expo can be found at: http://www.nzdia.co.nz/

[3] Defence White Paper: Government unveils $20b defence plan for new planes, boats and cyber security

[4] New Zealand Ministry of Defence. Defence White Paper 2016, p10.

How it will be delivered:

Auckland Peace Action sees this petition as an important part of our campaign opposing the weapons expo and the visit of foreign warships in November 2016. We need your support now to make this petition as powerful as possible. All the signatures will be delivered in the immediate lead-up to the weapons expo.

It takes only a moment to download this from GreenplanetFM.com and you can listen to it whilst driving, bussing or training to and from work or leasure.

Lauri is one of the most dynamic grandmothers in NZ who clearly articulates what needs to be conveyed and very powerfully too.

ACTION DATES:

Tuesday 15th Nov: Dr. Helen Caldicott speaks.

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Dr. Helen Caldicott, the world’s foremost anti-nuclear activist and researcher speaks at 7:30pm, at the Auckland University of Technology. Hosted by the Peace Foundation.

Wednesday 16th Nov: Blockade the Arms Trade!

Actively oppose the arms trade by the blockading the Weapons Expo. There are spaces for people who wish to actively blockade as well as space for support and family-friendly creative resistance.

Thursday 17th Nov: WALL of NOISE – Drown out the Death Merchants.

Bring your best noisemakers, instruments, banners and placards to drown out the weapons dealers’ party and awards ceremony happening inside. Evening. Check out the Facebook event for more details

Peace Flotilla: Time & Place TBA

Join up with a boat, kayak, surfboard or your body to resist the warships coming into Auckland Harbour. Details confirmed closer to the day.

Saturday THE 19th Auckland Town Hall - the BIG MARCH 2pm.

Come and make a noise, and Bring Banners & Placards.

A Massive March for Peace

Wednesday 9th November at 2pm.

Press Release: People for Peace

A big turnout is expected for a March for Peace on Saturday November 19th at 2pm, starting from the Town Hall, Queen St, and organised by “People for Peace”.

Large numbers of people are stunned that the New Zealand Navy has invited approximately 15 warships to participate in the Navy’s 75 birthday celebrations and an International Naval Review. Other countries are sending senior officers to participate.

The vessels, with their array of deadly weaponry, will berth at both Ports of Auckland and Devonport Naval Base. This is a stark call to all peace activists who opposed the US warships in the eighties and worked for a peace that may now be under threat globally, andalso to the new generation of young people who see the insanity of warfare and want to take a stand for peace.

“Even if the ships are non-nuclear armed, it is still not desirable to be reinforcing a warfare mentality and militarism when we should be promoting peace and underpinning the UN Charter that New Zealand signed in 1945,” said long time peace worker Lisa Er.

“By endorsing conventional warships New Zealand is effectively being groomed for involvement in future wars” she said.

In tandem with the warships visit is a weapons conference and expo, selling both military equipment and weapons, at the Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre. It will bring together 500 arms dealers sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the world's largest weapons manufacturer and a producer of nuclear weapons. This is contrary to Nuclear Free New Zealand’s peacemaker policy role in the international community.

It also contravenes Auckland’s City for Peace declaration, signed on Dec 15th 2011, which states that “Auckland Council is dedicated to the promotion of nuclear free zones and a culture of peace based on social, economic and environmental justice, tolerance and nonviolence.”

Veteran Peace activist Laurie Ross says, “New Zealanders must ensure that the multimillion dollar weapons industry is not permitted to promote its warfare culture under the guise of security, business and free trade in this country.”

“Unlawful terrorism will not be stopped by nation states increasing their warfare capacity but rather by curbing the sale of weapons and militarism throughout the world” she said.

The March for Peace is an opportunity for the public to show en mass their disdain for warfare and their desire to live in a peaceful world, and is complementary to the Week of Peace events.

Contacts:

Laurie Ross laurie-ross@xtra.co.nz Ph 09 818 0696

Lisa Er lisa@peaceteam.org,nz mob 021 777 473

City for Peace Declaration

UN Charter

Sunday 20th Nov: Peace Ships, NOT Warships! 1pm @ the Cloud

We’ll be having a peace picnic in the midst of the Navy birthday celebration reminding everyone that war is not a celebration bring banners, picnic stuff and other peace materials.


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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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