Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Speech to The House On Solomons Deployment

Speech to The House On Solomons Deployment

Tuesday 7th Nov 2000 Richard Prebble Speech -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

I rise to respond to the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade regarding the deployment of peace monitors to the Solomon Islands.

Sending New Zealand personnel overseas is always a serious matter and it is an appropriate matter for the House to debate. I am pleased that the Minister has made a ministerial statement. Accordingly, I withdrew my application for an urgent debate, and I would like to make a few points now.

Firstly, the ACT party does support the actions the Government is taking. It most certainly supports the personnel who are going and their families, and believes that they certainly have the support of the whole New Zealand Parliament as well. However, I do want to make some comments to the House about the issue.

During the parliamentary adjournment I went to the Solomon Islands for a week. Firstly, I can tell the House that the Minister's description of the situation is correct. The situation is dramatically better than it was when I was there in February when, basically, Honiara was a city under siege. One could go to the edge of that city and see the bunkers and look over and see the other militia on the other side of the river.

When I was there for the week I can confirm that the bunkers were empty. I can also confirm that the militia who had been wandering around the streets were teenagers holding machine guns. I did not observe those guns. However, locals pointed out trucks with bags on the back going past and said that the guns were in those bags. So the guns have not yet been handed in, although members of Parliament whom I spoke to said that the guns had started to be handed in.

I want the House to understand a couple of things. Firstly, the underlying causes are still there I will not go through them because I do not have long enough to discuss them so they can still have a flashpoint. There have been previous attempts at peacekeeping. The other point I want to make is about the law and order situation.

The economy collapsed to such a degree that the Government up there had to empty the jail. Jails are for criminals, in the Solomons as well as anywhere else. Those criminals are out, and they have access to the guns. So there has been a major law and order problem. Even while they were celebrating the peacekeeping, the criminals were off looting people's houses. The police force up in the Solomons has become hopelessly compromised. Some of them not all actually joined in with one of the militia. They emptied their own armouries, so there are 1,500 modern guns out.

There is a number of guns left over from the Second World War. I have seen some of them, and no doubt they are still very deadly. While I believe that the militia will hand back guns or many of them will when have criminals ever handed back guns anywhere. It will be most extraordinary if they did.

That is another debate. That is why I support our police going there. But when the criminals are arrested that is when, I think, the tension will rise. Unless that law and order situation is solved then the problems in the Solomons will not be.

I say that having spoken to the locals. They all said “yes'', that the overwhelming majority of people want peace. But even more they want to be safe in their homes, and they want to be able to have the criminals arrested. I understand that the Australians are taking the lead on that, and they have given support in reinforcing the Papua New Guinea police force and helping it reorganise in Vanuatu. I think the situation in the Solomons is worse.

So I say to the House and we need to note this every time we do it these situations are easy to enter into, and they are hard to get out of. I suspect this may turn out to be quite a long, hard haul. It might to turn out to be quite expensive. Having said all that, I cannot see any other alternative but the actions that the Government is taking.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election