Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Air NZ “Bought Share Of The Blame” For Yemen Humanitarian Catastrophe With Saudi Contract – Oxfam

Air New Zealand’s contract with the Saudi military is an unacceptable breach of international obligations and New Zealanders’ trust, said Oxfam today, as the aid agency called for the government’s investigation into the deal to be made public.

The $3m contract, signed by Air New Zealand in 2019 to repair critical engine components for Saudi naval vessels, is more than twice the value of New Zealand’s humanitarian assistance last year to the conflict in Yemen – the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

“With one hand, New Zealanders are donating critical funds through government and humanitarian agencies to save lives in Yemen, while with another, a New Zealand company, of which the New Zealand government is a majority stakeholder, is supporting the military accused by the UN of war crimes during this crisis,” said Oxfam New Zealand’s executive director, Rachael Le Mesurier. “The New Zealand public deserves an investigation that answers the question of whether or not this country has failed to live up to its legal and ethical obligations to the international community.”

Le Mesurier said the fact Air New Zealand could not answer whether its remaining military contracts were aiding international humanitarian crimes must spark a bigger conversation about how we hold New Zealand businesses to account. “It all points to the need for stronger measures to monitor and ensure New Zealand corporate compliance with human rights in their overseas operations.”

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and its military coalition partners have been parties to the conflict in Yemen’s vicious civil war, leading the fighting and preventing shipments of life-saving supplies by air, land and sea– committing, the UN say, clear violations of International Humanitarian Law.

“Yemenis were looking to the people and Government of New Zealand to help put a stop to these outrageous violations; not enable them,” said Le Mesurier. “By providing services to the Saudi Navy, implicated in potential war crimes, Air New Zealand has bought a share of the blame for the resulting humanitarian catastrophe.”

After more than five years of war, over 24 million Yemenis – eighty per cent of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance, with almost 4 million people displaced and half a million facing starvation. Saudi Arabia’s military has enforced intermittent blockades on Yemen ports, disrupting humanitarian access and preventing imports of food, water and medical supplies.

Le Mesurier said while it was good that Air New Zealand has since cancelled work on the contract, and the Government has announced an investigation into how it could have been approved in the first place, it raises serious questions about the processes in place to monitor such deals. "Oxfam welcomes these first steps, but this contract suggests that many serious ethical failures occurred at many levels,” she said.

“Both Kiwis and the people of Yemen deserve better from the New Zealand government and the companies they trust. The prime minister must urgently deliver answers on whether this contract violated New Zealand’s international legal obligations, such as under the Arms Trade Treaty; and whether export control procedures were followed, and on what basis the contract was approved.

“If Air New Zealand – a company in which the government itself owns the majority of the shares – can circumvent export controls, what confidence do we have other companies aren't doing the same?”, she asked.

Ibtisam Sageer Al Razehi, a 35-year-old former teacher and mother of three, lives with her children in the remains of the family house in Sa’ada city in Yemen, which was damaged by missiles and artillery fire. Her husband was killed by an airstrike in 2015.

“I lost my husband, my children lost their father, we lost the breadwinner and because of war I also lost my salary as our last hope for living,” she said.

“Humanitarian aid has decreased a lot; now we receive food every two months instead of every month. I appeal to the world to have mercy on the children of Yemen and stop this war. We are very tired of living in war for years, we lost everything beautiful in our lives, even the simple hope of peace.’’

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Rivals For The Covid Saliva Testing Dollar

If you want a good insight into what the limits of tiny, barely discernible steps to reduce poverty actually look like, delve into the latest Statistics Department figures on poverty in New Zealand Most of the nine measures utilised reveal little or no progress in combatting poverty over the 21 months to March 2020... More>>


Government: Main Benefits To Increase In Line With Wages

All measures of child poverty were trending downwards, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, across the two years since year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. The COVID-19 lockdown in late March 2020 affected Stats NZ’s ability to collect data from households ... More>>

Government: Reserve Bank To Take Account Of Housing In Decision Making

The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into ... More>>


RNZ: Alert Levels Remain

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says at least half of the Papatoetoe High School community have been tested and the results that have come through so far have all been negative... More>>


NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

The Dig: An Illogical Ideological Struggle

Dig beneath all the trade wars and the arguments to the effect that the USA should not permit China to achieve economic and technological superiority, or even parity, and you find the real reason behind the conflict... More>>

Travel: Government Eases Visa Restrictions For Visitors In New Zealand

Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration has announced. More>>




InfoPages News Channels