A big turnout is expected for a March for Peace on Saturday November 19th at 2pm, starting from the Town Hall, Queen St, and organised by “People for Peace”.
Large numbers of people are stunned that the New Zealand Navy has invited approximately 15 warships to participate in the Navy’s 75 birthday celebrations and an International Naval Review. Other countries are sending senior officers to participate.
The vessels, with their array of deadly weaponry, will berth at both Ports of Auckland and Devonport Naval Base. This is a stark call to all peace activists who opposed the US warships in the eighties and worked for a peace that may now be under threat globally, and also to the new generation of young people who see the insanity of warfare and want to take a stand for peace.
“Even if the ships are non-nuclear armed, it is still not desirable to be reinforcing a warfare mentality and militarism when we should be promoting peace and underpinning the UN Charter that New Zealand signed in 1945,” said long time peace worker Lisa Er.
“By endorsing conventional warships New Zealand is effectively being groomed for involvement in future wars” she said.
In tandem with the warships visit is a weapons conference and expo, selling both military equipment and weapons, at the Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre. It will bring together 500 arms dealers sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer and a producer of nuclear weapons. This is contrary to Nuclear Free New Zealand’s peacemaker policy role in the international community.
It also contravenes Auckland’s City for Peace declaration, signed on Dec 15th 2011, which states that “Auckland Council is dedicated to the promotion of nuclear free zones and a culture of peace based on social, economic and environmental justice, tolerance and non violence.”
Veteran Peace activist Laurie Ross says, “New Zealanders must ensure that the multimillion dollar weapons industry is not permitted to promote its warfare culture under the guise of security, business and free trade in this country.”
“Unlawful terrorism will not be stopped by nation states increasing their warfare capacity but rather by curbing the sale of weapons and militarism throughout the world” she said.
The March for Peace is an opportunity for the public to show en mass their disdain for warfare and their desire to live in a peaceful world, and is complementary to the Week of Peace events.