Locals warned about Govt. plan for closer military ties with US
Members of the Wellington-based collective Concerned Citizens have told a public meeting the 70th Salute celebrations are not simply about remembering an anniversary.
Nicky Hager (author of Other People’s Wars and The Hollow Men) and Adrian Leason (Waihopai Domebuster and Ploughshares Aotearoa), both gave their views about increasing NZ ties with the US at the meeting
Concerned Citizens say what’s happening now is ‘a significant symbol in the realignment of New Zealand foreign policy towards increased ties with an aggressive military power.’
“It’s fair to say your average New Zealander does not support the actions of the US military, particularly when you look at what they’ve been up to over the past ten years,” says Richard Bartlett of Concerned Citizens.
Govt. Eager for closer ties
“It is very worrying to see our government so eager to establish closer ties with an aggressive and unaccountable world power, without apparent consideration for the wishes of the people of New Zealand.”
The meeting was told the 70th Salute ceremonies in Kapiti and in the wider Wellington region are the first significant US military presence in New Zealand since former Prime Minister David Lange barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from entering New Zealand waters.
Mr Bartlett says: “In terms of the standoff over Nuclear weapons and nuclear powered ships in NZ, the signing of the Wellington Declaration at the end of 2010 represented Washington’s admitting defeat.
“They now want strong military ties with New Zealand, accepting our nuclear free status. While many behind the scenes in the National Party had spent years trying to reverse the policy, in the end it was those people who were ‘gone by lunchtime.’ The New Zealand public won; pat yourselves on the back.”
A community gallery just off Courtenay Place hosted the public discussion last weekend on the first significant number of US military to train in New Zealand since 1984.
Audio recordings available
The audio recordings for speakers Nicky Hager (author of Other People’s Wars and The Hollow Men) and Adrian Leason (Waihopai Domebuster and Ploughshares Aotearoa) are at the Concerned Citizens website (concernedcitizens.co.nz)
The Concerned Citizens Group also says: “We have decided that when the troops and the New Zealand government are welcoming the US Marines to Parliament (14/6/12) that we will be there.
“Our presence is to remind them that while we love our grandfathers and respect their contribution to WWII, we oppose much of what the US military has done since and we will not have our grandfather’s sacrifices used to justify more recent wars or to bolster future invasions.
“We love our grandfathers. We want to memorialise their opposition to the fascists who started World War Two. At the same time, if we hate anything, we hate war. Our grandfathers weren’t big fans of war either. They didn’t really want to talk about what happened over there. They just wanted to get on with their lives in peace.”