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Locke Takes Peace Message To Christchurch

Locke Takes Peace Message To Christchurch - Advisory

22 July, 2002

Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke is in Christchurch today to celebrate the city's recent decision to become a Peace City.

Keith will be one of a number of speakers at the Peace Display Stall in Cathedral Square between Midday and 2pm, including representatives from the Muslim and Jewish communities.

At about 2.30pm Keith will present the Green Party's "Policies for Peace" at the Christchurch City Council offices (text below.)

Keith will talk about New Zealand's future role in Afghanistan to Canterbury University students between 4 and 5.30pm (lecture theatre, S6) and will participate in a public meeting at the WEA Centre from 7.30-10pm. Keith's speech will be on "New Zealand's Future Role in the World: Lackeys or Leaders?"

The Green Party's Policies for Peace

Presented by Green MP and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke to the Christchurch City Council on July 22 in support of the recent decision of the Council's strategy committee that Christchurch should become a Peace City.

1. New Zealand should aim to be an internationally recognised peacemaking country. We have already assisted in bring peace to Bougainville and we should play a more prominent role in efforts to bring peace in other countries, such as Sri Lanka, Palestine and the Sudan. We should work closely with those governments at the forefront of international peacemaking, such as Norway. We should also be very involved in peacemaking efforts at the United Nations.

2. New Zealand's acceptability as an international peacemaker will be enhanced by disentangling our country from its present military alliances with a small group of countries. With that in mind we should formally withdraw from ANZUS and the Five Power Defence Arrangement. We should also close down the Waihopai satellite communications interception station, which is run primarily for the benefit of the American National Security Agency.

3. The international efforts of our defence force should be focused on peacekeeping. Our peacekeepers have gained a very good reputation in East Timor and other countries. Peacekeeping should be a focus of our defence purchasing, so that we have appropriately equipped troops, with support from helicopters and transport planes. We would have more money for such purchases if we sold off the frigates, which cost half a billion dollars a year to run.

4. We can become an international centre for peacekeeping expertise, by establishing a peacekeeping school. In the 1999 -2002 Parliament the Green Party won Budget support for a feasibility study into such a school.

5. As a nuclear-free country we can enhance our role as a disarmament campaigner. We are already respected for what we are doing for nuclear disarmament in the New Agenda Coalition and at the United Nations. We must continue to push strongly for a Southern Hemisphere Nuclear Free Zone and a Nuclear Weapons Convention. We must also be active in promoting the elimination of Biological and Chemical Weapons and landmines, and in campaigns against the arms trade that is fuelling wars around the world.

6. New Zealand must oppose shipments of nuclear wastes, which pose a grave environmental danger, and often contain materials that could be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. Our campaign against such shipments would be enhanced by extension of our nuclear free zone to the edge of our Exclusive Economic Zone, as proposed in the Green Party's Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill, which was unfortunately defeated in Parliament this year.

7. We must oppose the use of war in disputes between countries, and uphold international law which promotes peaceful solutions, and makes illegal the attacks on one country by another. Today, this means opposing the American war in Afghanistan and New Zealand withdrawing its SAS troops. We must also oppose the Bush administration's threat to extend its so-called "war against terrorism" into Iraq.

8. We must address the social, political and economic causes of conflict and terrorism, rather than make these problems worse by resort to military means. This means that New Zealand should support social justice and democracy internationally and commit to helping overcome the huge gap between rich and poor. We should have fair trade policies to reflect that commitment. We should move rapidly towards the international target of 0.7% of GNI in development assistance, from our current low base of 0.25%. We should increase our quota of refugees, treat them with respect and provide adequate resettlement funding.

9. We should promote policies of non-violence in New Zealand life, in the family, in our schools and in our communities. We support the many initiatives being undertaken in this direction. Reducing violence on TV would be a great help.

10. The government should put more resources into peace education in New Zealand, and support the efforts of other organizations, from the Peace Foundation to the Christchurch City Council, in this direction. Peace cities, peace libraries and museums, university peace courses and peace awards are all to be encouraged.

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