JustPeace # 104

A fortnightly Green Bulletin of News, Action and Analysis



was Keith Locke’s assessment, on 10 September, after the first week of the taser trial. ”Just one week in, its frequent use shows that it is not being treated as a weapon of last resort,” Keith said.

“In the first week the taser has been fired at one suspect, and drawn on four other occasions, despite prior police assurances that it would be used only when other options have been exhausted,”

Superintendent John Rivers, the officer in charge of the trial, told both One News and Campbell Live in June that the taser would be used only as an “absolute last resort”.

“I will be asking the police for details of taser use incidents, to see if the trial guidelines were being adhered to: namely that there was a serious threat of physical injury, and that more traditional means of apprehension were inappropriate. Normally, an experienced police patrol could deal with a burglar with a screwdriver, or call in backup, without having to draw such a dangerous and threatening weapon as the taser,” Keith said.

More at




The United Nations General Assembly will consider the adoption of the UN draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People at its meetings from September to November this year. The Declaration acknowledges that indigenous people have human rights as individuals and collectives and recognises that indigenous peoples are entitled to self determination. New Zealand’s representatives at the UN will oppose moves at the General Assembly to adopt the draft Declaration.

The New Zealand Government has consistently opposed the draft Declaration, even though indigenous peoples around the world have fought for it. Maori have had strong representatives at all the international meetings consistently defending the right of Indigenous people.

To send a message to the government on supporting indigenous rights, go to


and send an e-card to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Trade.

You can also read the final draft of the ‘Chair’s Text’ of the Declaration and link to the NZ Government’s position on that page.


is being launched, this Thursday, by the Council of International Development. The 2006 report focuses on conflict and argues that a lot of development assistance has been diverted into security following September 11 2001. The war on terror has been used to justify practices that run contrary to international human rights commitments. Civilians, and in particular women and children, have been most affected by this change.

SPEAKERS: Sue Kedgley,Green MP; Rae Julian, Council for International Development Executive Director; and Stacey Morrison, TV and radio presenter.

WHEN: Thursday, 21 September at 4pm

WHERE: Centre for Global Action, James Smith’s Building, corner Manners Mall and Cuba St, Wellington.



Speaking for the Green Party at the first reading of the Human Rights (Women in Armed Forces) Amendment Bill on 6 September Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley pointed out that certain new weapons of war have ongoing biological effects which pose a hazard not only for present generations of military personnel, but also for their descendents. She said:

” As a feminist, and as someone who has fought for women’s equality, I find it slightly galling that we are celebrating as if it is a great step forward for women to have the right to kill and be killed in combat on the front line. However, if there are women who want to go to the front line and into combat positions, far be it from me or the Green Party to try to stop them from doing so. We will therefore be supporting the Human Rights (Women in Armed Forces) Amendment Bill.

However, I want to make one point, which is that once we start to have women participating in combat zones and fighting on the front line, we need to have greater protection or greater assurance of their safety and, in particular, of the safety of their unborn children. We learnt through the Agent Orange select committee inquiry how much future generations can be affected by a chemical like that. We sent our troops into Vietnam, and our Government certainly was oblivious to the fact that our troops were being exposed to Agent Orange and that the dioxin would continue to affect future generations, resulting in deformities in the second and third generations. As someone observed recently, when people go to war it is not just the generation that actually goes to war that is affected but future generations as well.

Now we have a similar situation today with regard to depleted uranium. What would happen if we sent women into the combat zones where depleted uranium is being used? Depleted uranium is a radioactive product of uranium enrichment. It is used to coat ammunition such as tank shells and bunker-busting missiles. But the problem is that even a tiny particle of depleted uranium, if ingested, can cause a range of horrendous health effects, including birth deformities. Tonnes of depleted uranium have already been dropped on Iraq, on Afghanistan during the Gulf War, and even in Yugoslavia. Some studies have been done on exposed populations. In Basra, for example, there has been a 242 percent increase in malignancies, in Afghanistan, some children born in areas where depleted uranium has been used have been born with no eyes, with no limbs, with tumours protruding from their mouths and eyes, and so forth. That is the reality of the effects of the weapons of war that we are continuing to use today.

Obviously, we should be concerned about men’s exposure to depleted uranium and not merely women’s. However, we need to be particularly concerned about our women troops, even though it is true that our male troops who were exposed to Agent Orange ended up with a range of health effects which have been passed down to future generations. We need to be especially careful about protecting our women troops. In Viet Nam you can see the truly horrendous effect on generations of children born to women who were exposed to Agent Orange. Hundreds of thousands of children in Viet Nam, in village after village, have the most incredible birth deformities because their mothers were exposed to Agent Orange.

So if our women troops are on the front line, with the freedom to kill and be killed – this new wondrous freedom for women, which as Ron Mark has said is not newly acquired – we need to be very careful that we protect not just those women from depleted uranium and other horrendous weapons that are being used in war but, in particular, that we protect future generations. Women may be pregnant and not realise it. Exposure to one particle of depleted uranium, if ingested, can cause a whole range of effects and birth deformities, so it is entirely possible that women fighting on the front line could come back home and give birth to children with deformities, as a result of exposure to a particle of depleted uranium. If we are to send our women to the front line, I believe we have to have some guarantee that future generations of New Zealanders born to those women will not have birth deformities as a result of the wondrous new freedom to kill and be killed – or to have that opportunity – on the front line.”

This speech is archived at


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