TEU will take a stance against the multinational arms trade industry next week, following a resolution from Nelson member Helen Childs.
Childs, from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, led a call at TEU’s conference this week for TEU to oppose New Zealand’s annual defence industry conference and arms expo next week.
The conference, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s navy, draws together 500 international weapons companies, including the world’s largest manufacturer of nuclear weapons, Lockheed Martin. It will take place on 16 – 17 November in Auckland.
In June this year, the government announced $20 billion new spending on weaponry.
At the same time, it extended an invitation to a US warship to visit New Zealand for the first time in 32 years.
Next week this will all culminate in warships from around the world docking at Auckland Harbour, and over 500 weapons dealers take over the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre for a trade show.
The New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise provide funding, personnel, equipment, displays and expertise for the weapons expo.
This is despite that the government’s own evidence that “the country does not face a direct military threat in the foreseeable future.”
Childs called on TEU’s annual conference, this Monday to condemn the arms expo.
“We ask that TEU takes action that will send a clear message to the New Zealand government and international weapons companies that we do not condone or support the perpetuation of misery and despair that international arms trade deals in.”
Her resolution was passed with nearly universal support.
TEU national president Sandra Grey says she will be writing to the government expressing the union’s concern about the arms expo, and working with other unions and peace groups to discourage arms trade companies from doing business in New Zealand.
Auckland Peace Action has a petition TEU members can sign, calling for the government to stop its sponsorship and funding of the arms expo. The petition calls for the government to redirect its defence budget to urgent housing, educational, health, social and environmental needs, as well as supporting an increased refugee intake from war-torn countries.
TEU members within Auckland can find out more about opposing the Arms Expo at Auckland Peace Action.