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Putting people and peace before profit and war

Tuesday, 30th October, 2018

Wellington Socialists strongly support the actions of Peace Action Manawatū, and the wider New Zealand peace movement, in marching to oppose the NZ Defence Industry’s Weapons Expo in Palmerston North on the 31st of October.

“The arms trade is big business,” said Neil Ballantyne, spokesperson for Wellington Socialists. “Military expenditure is one of the biggest global transfers from the public purse to private industry.”

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), world military expenditure reached $1,739 billion in 2017, the highest level since the end of the cold war. This figure represents 2.2 of global gross domestic product.

“As socialists we put people before profit. Only a fraction of the amount spent on global arms expenditure is invested in the diplomacy and development programmes that could help end or prevent wars. Not only that, but every tax dollar spent on arms is a dollar diverted from investment in the needs of the people for education, healthcare, infrastructure and alternative energy solutions.”

The New Zealand weapons expo attracts over 500 global arms dealers including Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms dealer and primary sponsor of the expo. Lockheed Martin is doing so well that it recently raised its 2018 net sales forecast to between $51 billion and $53 billion. In August of this year the company was highlighted in the world media when a laser-guided Mark 82 bomb – sold by the US and built by Lockheed Martin – was used in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a school bus in Yemen killing 51 people, including 40 children.

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“The slaughter of Yemeni children is just one small example of the appalling and unacceptable impact on civilian populations of the reckless, profiteering arms trade. Popular resistance to the annual Weapons Expo in Wellington was so strong that, after twenty years of meeting in the capital, the arms dealers decided to move out of town. The next step is to kick them out of Aotearoa.”


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