Weapons Conference – oppposition to.

August 11, 2015

Dear Friends in the Lower Hutt Peace Group,

I am writing on behalf of Peace Action Wellington to seek your support for our campaign opposing the weapons conference planned for Wellington’s TSB Arena on November 17-18.

What is the Weapons Conference?

The weapons conference is a meeting of 200 of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers. They are here for two reasons: first, the conference is a showcase for local and international suppliers of weapons, tanks, helicopters, drones, rocket launchers, army uniforms, aircraft simulators and other military support systems and equipment to market themselves to the New Zealand Defence Force for lucrative government contracts, and second the conference creates opportunities for these same companies to work together to bid for overseas military contracts.

The conference’s main sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Babcock and Thales – some of the world’s leading nuclear weapon manufacturers. Under the name ‘the Defence Industry Conference’ these companies come to town to meet and plan how to make money from war.

What’s the problem?

      These companies are involved in supplying weapons to the illegal occupation of Palestine, and to repressive regimes including the governments of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United States, all with well-documented human rights abuses.

      Many of these companies are key players in the nuclear weapons establishment – as producers of nuclear weapons and managers of nuclear weapons facilities.

      Money spent on weapons takes money away from essential basic services. The upcoming purchase of two new planes for the NZDF will cost $600 million – one-half of what is needed to refurbish all state houses in New Zealand.

      On the same day the Child Poverty Action Group’s report Our Children, Our Choice: Child Poverty and Health was launched, the government announced “the prime contract for the frigate combat systems upgrade” was awarded to Lockheed Martin Canada – at a cost of $446 million, part of the 16.5% increase in military spending over the next four years.

      These weapons manufacturers are fueling conflicts around the world – many of them resource wars for oil and natural gas – because they profit from war. The US military is the single largest user of fossil fuel in the world. Our climate & environment are under assault from the massive militarisation of the world.

What can you do to help?

We will be campaigning against the conference both in the intervening months and on the days of the conference itself. We seek you and your organisation’s support for our position and activities.

Promotion

-Publicly condemn the weapons conference in a press release from your organisation
Encourage your organisation’s members to participate by publicising it among your groups and networks.
-Like our Facebook page & follow us on Twitter (@PeaceActionWGTN) we will be developing social media actions around the conference so keep an eye out for how you can take part!
-Download, circulate, print and poster weapons conference materials from our website
Arrange a visit by Peace Action to your organisation and where we can make a presentation specifically tailored to your members.
Invite us to write an article for inclusion in your newsletter linking the weapons conference to issues of importance to your supporters.

Endorse

Please email us to endorse our statement of opposition to the weapons conference (below) and please encourage others to do so too:

We say “No” to Wellington City – capital of nuclear free New Zealand – hosting a defence industry weapons conference sponsored by Lockheed Martin, an international nuclear weapons manufacturer. We support action to stop the weapons conference. 

Participate

We are organising specific actions at the conference. We want different groups represented there with their own specific reasons for opposing the weapons conference. We invite you to bring your banners and messages of opposition.

Join our Facebook event here:

Other ideas?

Get in touch if there is something you think we can do.

Get involved and let’s stop the weapons conference for good.

Thank your for your support.

Ngā mihi,

Valerie Morse
for Peace Action Wellington