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Court action over illegal PNCC 'Weapons Expo' roadblocks

Court action over illegal PNCC 'Weapons Expo' roadblocks

From: Peace Action Manawatū

Date: 25 October 2018

“Papers have just been filed in the Palmerston North High Court seeking a judicial review of the Palmerston North City Council plans to close streets next to the Central Energy Trust Arena during the upcoming NZ Defence Industry Association Forum, aka 'Weapons Expo', on 31 October and 1 November,” said Dr. Fred Hirst, member of Peace Action Manawatū.

"PNCC needs to prioritise the rights of the people who live here and not these War profiteers. We believe the PNCC are acting unlawfully in seeking to screen people entering public streets and residential neighbourhoods near the Arena. It is unacceptable that anyone has to pass through a security checkpoint or any screening process simply to travel on a public road in this country.”

“These are not the kinds of actions we would expect in our free and democratic country. They are particularly offensive because they are being done to protect weapons manufacturers and dealers from lawful protest action.”

One of the groups affected by traffic control is Te Hā o Hine-ahu-one Palmerston North Women's Health Collective in Waldegrave Street. Manager, Dr Jean Hera, said women visiting the Centre during the forum were likely to be stopped at a checkpoint and asked about the nature of their business.

"This is going to be so intrusive," said Dr Hera. Most visitors just dropped in, and she was worried women needing support would simply stay away.

“The Weapons Expo is a meeting of arms manufacturers and dealers to showcase their latest equipment. These war profiteers have come to Palmerston North having been turned away from Wellington and Auckland venues. This has exposed the lack of a City Council venues hireage policy because controversial weapons dealing is contrary to the Council's ethical investments policy. Now the Council have engineered an illegal traffic plan to ensure that they and Weapons Expo delegates don’t have to deal with any protests. They do not want to be confronted with a moral and ethical challenge to their conscience by non-violent peace activists,” said Dr. Hirst.

“The idea that residents of Palmerston North are being questioned at security checkpoints to enable weapons dealers to conduct their business is outrageous.”

“We are seeking an injunction to stop the plan from taking effect.”

ENDS

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