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Robson on Military Invasion of Iraq

Statement to the House on the Military Invasion of Iraq, 20 March 2003.

Speech notes

The Progressive Party deplores the launching of the military juggernaut now descending upon the people of Iraq.

In March of 2002 I had the honour of being the NZ Minister for Overseas Development at the UN Conference for Financing and Development in Mexico.

The military powers that are now entering Iraq could not find the money, in Mexico, to meet the needs of the people of Iraq and all the other million of people around the world who need action on underdevelopment.

Now there is money in abundance to launch military action against the very people who symbolise the suffering of people in poverty throughout the world.

At that very conference were representatives of dictators who have received money, arms, financing to oppress their people. Also at that conference were the representatives of Israel, who at this very moment are continuing to remove Palestinian people from their lands and who have been armed with weapons of mass destruction and are carrying out terrible crimes against the people of Palestine.

History has a way of bringing harsh judgments upon us. Those responsible for putting Sadam Hussein in power, as I have said many times in this house, and gave him the weapons to oppress his own people and to launch war against Iran, will find that that judgment will now haunt them. For the original backers of Sadam Hussein are now his enemies.

I can only say that we must now redouble our efforts in government to put New Zealand at the forefront of genuine disarmament and genuine development. This House should endorse our government in supporting the initiative of the South Africa government, which has asked proposed linking disarmament with development.

Secondly I would ask this House to support the post conflict reconstruction of Iraq and ensure that there will be a genuine people's government which will be independent and able to use its national resources for its own people and not for the military forces now invading Iraq.

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