Tuesday 13 December 2016
Local Board Office
Waitematā Local Board
OPEN MINUTE ITEM ATTACHMENTS
8.1 Deputation: Kathy Ross and Audrey van Ryn - Warship-free zone
13 Special Exemption (Section 6) Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987
13 December 2016
Kathy Ross - Tues. 13th December 2016
Kia ora, Good Afternoon everyone, and thank you for having us here today.
I belong to WILPF (Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom); CCRG (Central City Residents Group; TTW (Tamaki Treaty Workers); PF (Prison Fellowship) and I work at AAG (Auckland Art Gallery) and ADHB (Auckland Hospital); (I have my share of acronyms;). My sister is Laurie Ross, long-time peace campaigner and Peace Foundation supporter and my father Larry Ross spear-headed the Nuclear-Free campaign in the 1980’s.
That the Waitemata Local Board Support the Deputation put forward by Rob Thomas:
• How are Auckland Council and Auckland Regional Facilitates Venues hired that are consistent with Auckland Council's commitment to the City Peace Accord?
• Does Auckland Council have any terms of conditions relating to Auckland Council and RFA venue hire in relation to the sales of dangerous goods, arms and ammunition?
To cultivate a more Peaceful world requires that governments divest from the military/industrial complex of companies who profit from the arms trade. City Councils and Local Boards have an important role in this process that must be activated by a concerned public. This quote by Arundati Roy ‘Once weapons were manufactured to fight wars; Now wars are manufactured to sell weapons’ reminds us that we can chose not to follow this pointless cycle.
We would like current public policy action to cover situations like the recent War Weapons Expo:
The Government, the NZ Navy, and the Defense Industry Association conspired, without public consultation, to produce a series of events from 14th-22nd November 2016, that promoted acceptance of warfare and the weapons industry. The NZ Navy invited over 30 nations to send warships to Auckland to 'celebrate' its 75th anniversary. There were unscheduled naval war games in the Hauraki Gulf over six days involving 12 visiting warships.
These ships were an unnecessary show of military power however, in the end demonstrated how a monster designed for destruction can be used for a force of good, as they became ‘Peace Ships’ by delivering humanitarian aid to Kaikoura in the aftermath of the Earthquake.
They did not need billions or even millions of dollars of weaponry for this purpose.
We believe this should be the major purpose of our defense Forces in general: to deliver humanitarian aid to those suffering from war or environmental disasters -not preparing for warfare.
The most disturbing element was the annual NZ Defense Industry Conference and Weapons Trade Show on 16/17 November for over 500 delegates at the ANZ Viaduct Event Centre on Auckland Waterfront sponsored by leading international arms dealers. No one was told that this ‘Naval Celebration’ was actually in conjunction with a giant arms fair.
The primary sponsor of the weapons conference, Lockheed Martin, is the world's largest manufacturer of weapons, including nuclear weapons. NZ does not need to do business with companies that produce nuclear weapons that can destroy life on earth. We are fortunate to have a nuclear free law of 1987 as a platform to base our rejection of those companies who produce nuclear weapons as well as a Peace City policy of 2011 that supports our position. Indeed, showcasing 500 of the worlds largest weapons manufacturers is not okay.
Other events, included boarding the warships which was scheduled to draw the crowds to 'The Cloud' at Queens Wharf. While it is important to honor those who died in war, we should not be romanticizing war and projecting the cult of warfare as our future nor promoting it as patriotism.
Proud to be a Nuclear Free Peacemaker nation
New Zealand has no need to accept increased militarization in the Pacific by super-powers and multinational corporations who profit from production of war and weaponry. It runs completely contrary to our Clean Green Environment and Nuclear Free Peace Maker image.
We believe it is vital to stop militarization that threatens our environment, contributes to fear and insecurity leading to warfare, plus drains billions of taxpayer dollars from our economy that is needed for programs that increase social and environmental well-being.
* Many international companies at the NZ Defense industry conference are engaged in manufacturing and profiting from weapons, including Babcock, a UK company which has a head office embedded in the Devonport Naval Base.
• Numerous small NZ companies, who form the NZ Defense Industry Association, have contracts with Lockheed Martin and other international weapons manufacturers. We want to discourage NZ companies from producing and profiting from the business of war.
• The recent revelations about Kiw-iSaver providers investing in banned war weapons is not acceptable to the majority of New Zealanders eg. Landmines, cluster munitions and nuclear weapons. But now it is time to make it unacceptable for NZ companies to profit from conventional war weapon production as well.
Thus it is vital that we reinforce our Auckland City of Peace Declaration of December 2011. This is part of a broad network of over 7000 cities and Mayors for Peace worldwide dedicated to abolition of nuclear weapons.
• In addition, a City of Peace does not host war weapons conferences and trade shows. Our Mayor and City for Peace rejects economic gain from the war industry business.
• Our Local Boards have a duty to convey this to the Mayor and Council and recommend that it refuse to do business with companies producing components for war weapons.
Environmental reasons to reject mass warship visits and the war industry
* Military vehicles, aircraft and naval vessels are serious polluters. Worldwide, military waste and fuel consumption are the leading contributors to environmental pollution. Auckland has a proud history of being a Nuclear Free Zone since 1983, then became a Peace City. We are also a city committed to decreasing CO2 emissions.
Lets continue to protect the whole of Auckland Peace City harbors and waterways from pollution and preserve our threatened marine reserves. Visits by fleets of warships threaten the waters and shores of the Gulf, adding to a pollution level which will become irreversible .
Warships to Peace-ships-Restructuring Defense
*While not opposed to New Zealand's naval vessels, such as Devonport Naval Base, it is essential that we begin converting our warships to peace ships. This means the primary purpose is not preparing to fight military wars but to deliver humanitarian aid.
In addition, the purpose of the army. Airforce, navy is to deal with emergency rescues, protection of fisheries, prevention of piracy, assisting with refugees, provision of medical aid and transport in times of cyclones, quakes, tsunamis, etc.
The major threats to NZ are not military but due to environmental disasters, earthquakes, hurricanes, climate change, poverty and social problems, etc. The NZ government can restructure the military to better contribute to global security in a more appropriate manner. This can be developed as part of a much broader approach to defense and foreign policy which is called Peacemaking, Peacekeeping and Peace-building.
*Thus, we must stop spending billions loading our naval vessels with ever newer and more expensive combat weapons, (which are sitting ducks for sophisticated drone weaponry) when we have no real enemies (as admitted by our own defense commanders).
Redirect Military spending to Meet Social Needs
$20billion for defense over the next 15 years is indefensible when NZers real need is for increased investment in affordable housing, health care and education. We simply cannot afford such extravagant and unnecessary spending.
The US govt has reduced it’s budget for weaponry by billions and as a result the weapons manufacturers are looking elsewhere for their markets; let’s not buy into that. Economically, it looks very similar to the trail of the cigarette industry.
We must stop allowing weapons makers, governments and the militaries to continue economic production of weapons, which then require wars to be tested and to produce markets.
The reality is that War is a form of mass murder and should be rejected by people as stated in the UN Charter. We can abolish the institution of war, by each community taking a stand to withdraw social consent for perpetuation of warfare by the state (see WarKillsChildren.org ). Thus, we call on elected government representatives at all levels to condemn warfare.
11] Government can increase investment in people that have the skills to work effectively to prevent war, to reduce crime and violent behavior and to resolve conflict in peaceful ways. We need more social workers, mental health councilors and community development programs to deal with growing social unrest and dysfunction in society. We must work to prevent conflict from becoming violent.
Relevance to Local Boards
Our mission is to encourage conversion of warfare to welfare, divestment in weapons to investment in peacemaking and disarmament. In addition, we want to see more funding for programs that reduce child abuse and family violence, which would become available from reduced military budgets.
New Zealand can be a leading peacemaker nation internationally, based on
non-militaristic defense and foreign policy, pro-active Peace City Councils and grassroots peace-work in our communities. Thus, we must inspire our Local Boards and communities to be brave in the pursuit of a Peace City Culture based on social justice, human rights, environmental protection and non-violence which requires the rejection of institutionalized warfare.
Express disapproval of weapons manufacturers and investment in events or activities that promote the war business and militarism.
Refuse permission for the use of Council venues and public spaces for events that promote weapons, warfare and violence (under the guise of defense).
Conclusion: Therefore, Waitemata Local Board can lead the way for Auckland Peace City to reject economic gain by any form of involvement with the military war weapons industry. It can positively encourage investment in resources and businesses for the protection and well-being of all who reside here. * Auckland -- City of Peace Declaration (2011)