GUEST BLOG: Murray Horton – Time to recognise Rocket Lab for what it is


An American-Owned Facility For The US Military & Spies On The Mahia Peninsula
Rocket Lab was originally touted as a shining example of Kiwi innovation. It continues to be, under the present Government.
But, in fact, it is now simply the NZ subsidiary of an American company, one with major ownership by Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest weapons manufacturer.
And Rocket Lab’s clients, whose payloads it launches into space from its Mahia Peninsula facility, include a whole range of US miitary, intelligence and surveillance agencies. It is directly contributing to the militarisation of space. A central theme of Trump’s Presidency is that the US must be able to “dominate space” and wage war in space and from space.
So, let’s call it for what it is – an American-owned facility for the US military and spies on NZ soil. As such it is as much a base as the Waihopai spy base, which has been of great interest to the Anti-Bases Campaign for more than 30 years. More so actually, as Waihopai is nominally a “New Zealand” spybase, operated by the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau. Rocket Lab is American-owned and privately-owned, so it is a corporate contractor to the US military and intelligence empire.
Here are some very informative and very recent articles about it.
Anti-Bases Campaign calls for these concerns about Rocket Lab to be turned into action. The powers that be are acutely sensitive to the “risks” posed to Rocket Lab by any protests. Here’s a couple of quotes from The Spinoff article:
“In the May 2017 briefing to (National Minister Simon) Bridges, the (Government’s) NZ Space Agency suggested the Government should convey to the US that it was pleased the new space industry ‘will enable us to broaden and deepen our security collaboration’..Bridges was also advised that one of the risks was the reaction of the New Zealand public.
‘Certain groups are opposed to New Zealand’s security relationship with the US, and it is possible that such groups would be motivated to disrupt launches if they were aware that US Government security payloads were being launched from New Zealand,’ the briefing says”.
And: (Labour Minister David) “Parker says he’s comfortable with the degree of disclosure around US government launches, and that the Space Agency is developing a process for the proactive release of payload information. The Space Agency’s own advice indicates this is a fragile peace.”‘Even a single protestor could have a disproportionate effect on space launch activities from New Zealand’, one briefing says.  This risk can be managed, but only to an extent.”

Enough said. Let’s start the conversation about what to do about it.

Murray Horton
Secretary/Organiser Anti-Bases Campaign


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  1. Anybody paying attention would have known that rocket lab sold out to the military- industrial complex quite some time ago.

    • It was written into the high altitude amendment bill, the one government New Zealand’s space programme that it was cool for the military to seek an exemption from the act for communications satellites from what I remember. If space based communications is cool for civilian use then why would we deny NZDF access.

  2. It’s not cheap funding a rocket company.

    Rocket Lab wanted to expand and needed capital .. New Zealand didn’t cough up enough MULA! And what of the geopolitical situation around space tech?

    Only a small handful of nations have sent rockets into space, let alone satellites! There are also only a small number of nations which Rocket Lab could get away partnering with.

    Not only do I like Choo-Choo-Trains, I like satellites! New Zealand’s spy/military branches are already salivating about what can be sent up there .. and how many ..

    New Zealand needs more investment and commercialization of our tech sector. Our tech entrepreneurs will get there in the end .. it just many not be in NZ.

    The great thing about the tech sector is; you can work from any country. Businesses costs MULA, young tech savvy people might be right to look towards the USA and other accommodating countries, both living-cost-wise and capital-investment-wise.

  3. Thanks Murray.I didn’t realise that.
    We need people like you who think beyond what the the media feeds us chooks.

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