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Economic Wellbeing for Northland, not the Arms Industry

“Economic Wellbeing for Northland, not the Arms Industry”

18 October 2015

“Northland doesn’t need local companies tendering for contracts overseas in the arms industry and similar dodgy industries,” said Whangarei’s Coalition for Peace spokesperson Tim Howard. “This is not the sort of economic development people want in Northland, and Northland Inc needs to review its decision to promote the arms industry.”

Coalition for Peace, Whangarei, will be picketing the seminar at Kingsgate Hotel, Riverside, from 8.30am this Monday (19th) morning. The Coalition for Peace and Justice is a coalition of local groups, initially responding to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and to the US-led ‘war on terrorism’ after 9/11.

Northland Inc is endorsing a government promotion of the so-called ‘benefits’ of the TPPA and the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), a promotional tour being carried out by NZ Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). They have invited Lockheed Martin, largest arms manufacturer in the world, to be the keynote speaker at their upcoming seminar in Whangarei.

“Is the sort of ‘good business’ Northland Inc promotes typified by the arms industry? Is this the sort of business that they want local businesses to get involved in?” said Tim Howard. “Lockheed Martin is the largest arms manufacturer in the world, with close ties to the US government. We are morally certain that the vast majority of Northlanders want healthy local economic development – not subcontracting to the predominant makers of fighter aircraft in the world.

“The arms industry is perhaps the key driver of wars in the world. Apart from being promoters of increased US military budgets, charged with fraud, and accused of monetary rewards for government decision-makers, Lockheed Martin have been hit with bad employment litigation and charged with knowingly using poor quality materials in its fighters. On every count, this isn’t the sort of economic development Northlanders want.

“We are sceptical that the TPPA and GPA will bring wellbeing to the flaxroots communities of Northland. These agreements are more likely to open up our economy to global corporations and provide yet another obstacle to small local businesses. We are even more certain that the global arms trade is not the way to go for Northland’s future,” said the Coalition’s Tim Howard.


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