17 January 2005
Hone Harawira, MP for Tai Tokerau and Maori Party Spokesman on Disarmament
"As long as we have Waihopai, we are targets for terrorism and nuclear attacks," said Hone Harawira, MP for Tai Tokerau and Maori Party Spokesman on Disarmament, "and guess what - we're not even allowed to know what goes on in there."
Waihopai is the American electronic gathering base located just outside Blenheim. It is run by New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) for those parties involved in the super-secret UKUSA Agreement.
" It has two satellite dishes which intercept a huge volume of phone calls, telexes, faxes, e-mail and computer data communications, from our Asia/Pacific neighbours; unfortunately for us, it also snoops on all communications in New Zealand as well. It then forwards the material to the US National Security Agency (NSA) " .
"This is the spy network which provided George Bush with the information which led to the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, and if New Zealanders think we are safe from the consequences of those conflicts, then think again. Waihopai locks us firmly into the American information gathering network, and the people of this country deserve to know what is going on in their own land.
"Waihopai is run by the Americans, to serve American interests, and apparently neither Parliament nor the Prime Minister is told what goes on there. By snooping on us, Waihopai breaches our individual rights, and because it is being run by the Americans, it also violates our national sovereignty" said Mr Harawira.
"I have no doubt that many Maori will be targets of the Waihopai spybase, but I bet that Waihopai will also target many other Kiwis as well.
"It is also a threat to other indigenous movements all around the world" said Harawira, "particularly in light of New Zealand, America and Australia's recent attacks on indigenous rights at the United Nations."
And I bet that those recently elected South American governments which have declared their opposition to the United States will come under heavy US surveillance through the spy network as well."
"Yes - I know people will say 'well if you've done nothing wrong, then you haven't got anything to worry about' but my question is 'who controls Big Brother when he gets it wrong?'. Thousands of American soldiers, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have already died because George Bush and his multi-billion dollar spy network got it wrong in Iraq.
"If we are to suffer, let it be because of the actions we take, and not because of the arrogance and the disastrous decisions of others. Waihopai is an insult to our integrity as an independent people, and we should not accept its presence for a moment longer.
The Maori Party supports the campaign to have the spybase at Waihopai closed, and if I can make it, I hope to go to Blenheim to support the protest action on 21, 22 January at Blenheim and outside the spybase itself.