Concern over New Zealand's association with RIMPAC
22 October 2014
The New Zealand Peace Foundation last week wrote to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, expressing concern at New Zealand’s involvement in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest marine warfare exercise held biennially in Hawai’i.
The docking of HMNZS Canterbury at Pearl Harbour for RIMPAC in June marked the first time since the 1985 ANZUS split that the US has allowed a New Zealand naval ship to berth at a US naval base. While this is an encouraging sign for the two countries’ bilateral relationship, it is a worrying development for New Zealand’s nationally defining and widely lauded 30-year nuclear free stance.
“The enormous investment of manpower and money advancing nuclear war scenarios is contrary to New Zealand's Nuclear Free Peace-making defence and foreign policy,” stated the letter. “It is also contrary to New Zealand's national interests especially in terms of our positive relationships with other nations in the region.”
The Peace Foundation suggested that New Zealand funds and trained personnel could contribute more effectively to international security through preparedness for environmental threats, such as tsunamis, earthquakes and cyclones. In addition, NZ could contribute more significantly to overcoming the devastating security threat posed by health epidemics like Ebola and providing ongoing assistance through education programmes.
The letter also pointed out that the more than 16,000 nuclear weapons in existence continue to pose an ongoing threat to international security. “RIMPAC nations are investing billions of dollars on the modernisation of nuclear weapons and these funds could be better spent combating environmental and health threats,” the letter stated.
The Foundation urged the government to take a leadership role at all relevant UN forums to pursue a legally binding Nuclear Weapons Ban as a solid foundation for facilitating a Nuclear Weapons Convention or framework of agreements to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons.
“We also ask,” continued the letter, “that New Zealand maintain this advocacy for a nuclear weapons ban at the third Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons being held on 8/9th December 2014 in Vienna, and also at the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
For more information, please contact:
Laurie Ross, Ph: 098180696, firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline Ongleo-Calub, Director, New Zealand Peace Foundation. Ph: 09373 2379, Mob:022 636 2843, email@example.com, www.peace.net.nz
Peace City event in Waitakere celebrates UN Nuclear Abolition Day
02 October 2014
Children released Peace Dove Blessings at the Titirangi War Memorial Hall to celebrate Auckland Peace City. The event held on Saturday 27th September marked the 27th Anniversary of Nuclear Free New Zealand. It is also the first observation of the UN Nuclear Abolition Day which is being celebrated throughout the world.
"We are cultivating a culture of peace and hope for future generations that humanity can live without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation." says Laurie Ross, coordinator of the event on behalf of The Peace Foundation in collaboration with Waitakere Ranges and Whau Local Boards.
"West Auckland has always been at the forefront of the Nuclear Free New Zealand movement and it is important to rekindle civic pride to honour this milestone in our country's history." says Mrs Ross.
The cultural programme featured a range of local performers including the Mhara Marimba Band, Green Bay High School contemporary dance troupe and Avondale College Choir, plus singer songwriter Sarah Macombee.
The internationally recognised exhibition 'Everything You Treasure-for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons' was on show from the local Soka Gakkai Buddhist group.
A highlight of this community event was the Peace Poppy Parade led by Mackenzie Mabey from Titirangi Primary School which passed through the Village led by a flaming torch bearer from the World Peace Harmony Run plus a Scottish Piper.
Speakers included Waitakere Local Board members Denise Yates and Steve Tollestrup plus Catherine Farmer and Ami Chand of Whau Local Board.
Sir Bob Harvey, former Mayor for Peace of Waitakere City, and MP Phil Goff talked about New Zealand's ongoing role to support the UN process for disarmament and the Global Parliamentary Appeal for a Nuclear Weapons Ban.
The event provided an opportunity for people to hear about how the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is leading the mobilisation of civil society throughout the world to achieve this goal at the third Humanitarian Conference on 8/9 December in Vienna, Austria.