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Hager to speak on first US military action in NZ in 28 years

Hager to speak on first US military action in NZ in 28 years

On Sunday June 10th at 6pm, 19 Tory St, a community gallery just off Courtenay Place, will host a public discussion on the first significant number of US military to train in New Zealand since 1984. The two speakers scheduled for the event include Nicky Hager (Other People’s Wars; The Hollow Men) and Adrian Leason (Waihopai Domebuster and Ploughshares Aotearoa).

Four days after the talk the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, will host one hundred United States Marines at Parliament. These Marines (fifty officers, fifty band members) are presently in New Zealand performing ceremonies commemorating 70 years since US soldiers were based in Kapiti during WWII.

This visit represents the first significant US military presence in New Zealand since former Prime Minister David Lange barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from entering New Zealand waters.

Wellington-based collective Concerned Citizens believes that the present celebrations are not simply about remembering an off-beat anniversary. They see the present moment as a significant symbol in the realignment of New Zealand foreign policy towards increased ties with an aggressive military power. The move is not a total shock, with the framework set out in the Wellington Declaration signed in late 2010, presaging the present events.

“It’s fair to say your average New Zealander does not support the actions of the US military, particularly when you look at what they’ve been up to over the past ten years,” according to Richard Bartlett of Concerned Citizens. “It is very worrying to see our government so eager to establish closer ties with an aggressive and unaccountable world power, without apparent consideration for the wishes of the people of New Zealand.”

Several questions arise from the military visit:
• At the end of a decade of failed wars, why is the NZ government forming stronger military ties to the US?
• Does the present visit foretell of NZ signing up to future US-led wars?
• What is the US’s new Pacific Plan about? How does China fit into this?

The public discussion aims to address these questions and to bring attention to the present events.There will also be a chance for discussion around peace celebrations aimed to coincide with the reception at Parliament on June 14th.

“The US military hasn’t trained here since Lange’s quip on uranium,” says fellow Concerned Citizen Murdoch Stephens. “Well, we have a new phrase for Mr Key: this time death is on your breath.”

Speakers
Nicky Hager, author of Other People's Wars (the definitive account of NZ Defence Force PR and the Afghan/Iraq wars).
Adrian Leason, a peace activist arrested for deflating one of the Waihopai spy base's domes.

ENDS

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