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Long March for Peace Reaches Target

Long March for Peace Reaches Target

Peace campaigner Ian Upton arrives at Parliament this Wednesday 28 June after walking from Cape Reinga because he says funding war is unacceptable.

Upton, who is a Quaker from Waiheke Island, has undertaken the 55 day hikoi to draw attention to increased government spending on defence- an extra $20 billion planned over the next 15 years.

He says that that this money should be redirected into purposeful peacemaking and non-violent ends, especially looking after children.

In November 2016 the Government announced a $20 billion budget for the NZ Defence Force, with plans to replace the Air Force Boeing 757, the C130-Hercules, the Orion maritime patrol aircraft and the ANZAC frigates.[1]

This is while homelessness reaches new levels and the prison population recently passed 10,000. The number of children living below the poverty line is estimated at 300,000.[2,3,4] Huge capital expenditure for military purposes is inevitably at the expense of other spending the country needs in areas like transport and housing.

Ian is walking to Parliament to give the message that the funds will be much better spent on peaceful purposes. There are many good organisations doing essential work that could benefit with more funding, for example work such as that carried out by the 1000 Days Trust, which supports children through their first 1000 days of life.[5]

Taking the example of Costa Rica, who have had only a civil defence force and border patrol since 1949, Mr Upton asks why New Zealand cannot do something similar? He says it is reasonable to defend our borders with vigilance, but we don't need the capability to wage war overseas.

“We teach our children that fighting is wrong. Common sense security is all that is required, not offensive capability,” he says.

Mr Upton is supported by Thomas Kururangi , who is driving a sponsored electric car, and and members of the Te Araroa Offers Hope Trust who promote walking the national trails as a cure for depression.

References
1 - http://beta.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11652807
2 - Homelessness http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/332032/urgent-housing-need-big-concern-going-into-winter
3 - Protest as prison population hits 10,000 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/324283/protest-as-prison-population-hits-10,000
4 - New Zealand child poverty a source of deep concern, says UN https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/07/new-zealand-child-poverty-a-source-of-deep-concern-says-un
4 - The first 1000 days of a child's life http://www.1000days.org.nz/


ends

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