New Zealand: Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand joins opposition to November Arms Fair
from Kevin McBride, National Concenor, Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand
Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand, in association with the Peace Place, recently hosted a meeting called by members of Auckland Peace Action to plan activities in opposition to the Military Weapons Conference and Arms Fair scheduled to take place in Auckland in November. This is timed to accompany the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Royal New Zealand Navy which will take place from 17-22 November. Thirty nations have been invited to send ships to join the celebrations and it is highly likely that the presence of United States warships will also be the focus of attention in light of New Zealand’s ongoing ban on nuclear warships and on exercising with those who possess them.
Auckland Peace Action is a non-aligned, volunteer-run, grassroots community group which is open to anyone who is in agreement with its shared aims (below), and operates by consensus made at weekly meetings. Some of its aims are to:
1. raise public awareness about the weapons expo, the wider military/industrial complex and NZ’s role in the War on Terror
2. build and sustain an active movement of people opposed to war and militarism
3. prevent, disrupt and/or delay the Military Weapons Conference/Navy Expo from happening in NZ
4. build solidarity across movements by recognising the interconnected and disastrous consequences of war, colonialism and capitalism for the majority of people in NZ and the world.
Pax Christi sections in both New Zealand and Australia have expressed concern for some time about the growing tendency to develop an “us and them” approach to military and political relationships in the Asia-Pacific region and although we appreciate the wish of the NZ Navy to celebrate its 75th anniversary, we also see it as an occasion for the government to reinforce alliances which are inherent in that approach. Such alliances stand in the way of alternative policies based on peaceful negotiation and mutually beneficial trade exchanges regularly advocated by Pax Christi in both countries.