Maire Leadbeater on Peace and Social Justice

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Maire Leadbeater on Peace and Social Justice

Maire Leadbeater has been at the forefront of political and social activism in New Zealand for much of her life.

Such dedication is rare. Daughter of activist and writer Elsie Locke, and sister to retired Green MP Keith Locke, it is not surprising that Maire has been both encouraging of them, and inspirational herself.

As a peace and human rights activist, and a former social worker, Maire was also the media spokesperson for the campaign for nuclear disarmament on the 1980s and early 1990s.

She tells us of the blossoming nuclear free movement of that time, and how the flotilla of boats went out to obstruct nuclear war ships as they came into port, and how a small scale protest became a popular movement.

It is inspiring that New Zealand, the mouse that roared, found the political will to stand up to world powers and say NO to foreign nuclear war ships and to nuclear weapons. We do not appear to have had such courage since.

East Timor, for example is a country that New Zealand let down by turning a blind eye to the atrocities that occurred there, that were perpetrated by the Indonesian government after its invasion of the country in 1975. These atrocities continued until 1999.

Thirty seven years ago five journalists, the Balibo five, were killed while reporting there. Gary Cunningham, a New Zealander, was one of those five and yet our government never requested an investigation of his murder.

Maire is author of ‘Negligent Neighbour- a book on the plight of East Timor following the Indonesian annexation in 1975, which was published in 2007.

Continuing to be active in the Auckland East Timor Independence Committee until 2000 Maire now represents The Indonesia Human Rights Committee as spokesperson. Their web site is www.indonesiahumanrights.org.nz

Another of our neighbours that the New Zealand Government has failed is West Papua.

West Papua is striving for self determination and is under the Indonesian Governments rule. Maire has written many articles on West Papua and the New Zealand governments foreign policy.

It is disappointing to find that in 2009 New Zealands Super fund invested around $8m in the Freeport McMoran mining company there, which has the worlds biggest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. The profits do not trickle down to the West Papuan people however. Instead the indigenous people are displaced and the environment is being seriously polluted.

New Zealand has been a political leader, influencing the world on the subject of nuclear war, and yet sadly it has descended into following the big boys and ignoring the plight and struggles of our poorer neighbours.

Maires current favourite song is performed here by West Papuan George Telek Freedom



Maire Leadbeater, shows that working for change can make a difference, as she joins others in raising awareness of human rights abuses and injustices, and is vigilant in following them through to their conclusion, as in the Nuclear free movement and East Timor.

*** Listen and be inspired by her dedication. ***

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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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