JustPeace #85

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  • No Risk In Zaoui Family Reunion.

  • On 31 July Keith Locke asked the Government how allowing Ahmed Zaoui’s family into New Zealand could be a security risk, and urged them to allow it.

    He was responding to Immigration Minister Paul Swain’s comment on the application from Ahmed Zaoui’s wife Leila and their four sons to move to New Zealand to be with him. Mr Swain said the application would not be considered until after Mr Zaoui’s status was resolved.

    “I call on Mr Swain to show the true face of Kiwi compassion and allow Leila and the boys to join their husband and father as soon as possible,” Keith said.

    “Allowing a long-separated family to get together can’t possibly represent any security danger to New Zealand.

    “Mr Zaoui himself is on bail and able to move freely around New Zealand. Last week I visited Nelson with him, where he was warmly received. However, there was a touch of sadness when he chatted to the children at his Nelson meetings; they so reminded him of his absent sons.

    “The Government owes the Zaouis special consideration, because the two-and-a-half-year separation is largely due to the deficiencies in the Security Risk Certificate process — which even the Government admits need to be changed.

    “Our Government also unnecessarily incarcerated Mr Zaoui for two years, ten months of that in solitary confinement.

    “Also, given that his family is irrelevant to the security risk assessment process Mr Zaoui faces, their application should only be considered in light of his refugee status, which was granted by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority in August 2003. On that basis, it would normally be fairly straightforward for a family to be reunited.”


    Keith’s release


  • Dob In Calls, Not Muslims, Are Endangering New Zealand Democracy

  • was Keith’s message on 29 July. He was condemning Winston Peters’ call for Islamic leaders to dob in dangerous members of their community.

    “This is an insult to the Muslim community,” Human Rights Spokesperson Keith said..

    “There is no more evidence of ‘extremism’ among Muslims than there is among Christians, Jews, Hindus or atheists. Mr Peters slanders Muslim leaders when he accuses them of tolerating dangerous people in their community.

    “The ‘extremism’ we have to worry about is that fostered by Winston Peters himself in his false accusation that Muslims are ‘intolerant’ and don’t integrate into our society. Such rhetoric encourages the vandalism of mosques, and verbal abuse of people wearing Muslim dress.

    “Any compassionate politician would be condemning the current attacks on Muslim people, not feeding off anti-Islamic prejudice to improve a poll rating.”


    Keith’s release


  • The Government Has Failed To Listen To The People

  • said Rod Donald on the morning of the departure of the Black Caps cricket team’s departure for Zimbabwe. ”The departure this morning of the Black Caps for Africa is a stark reminder of the New Zealand Government’s failure to live up to its responsibilities on behalf of Kiwis to stop the tour.

    “The overwhelming majority of New Zealanders are united in their opposition to this tour because they can see the atrocities Mugabe is committing and understand that sport and politics are inextricably linked,” Rod said.

    “They expect the Government to do more than propose high-minded but ineffective motions in Parliament. Our sporting heroes are about to become pawns in Robert Mugabe’s obscene power games, and the Government has done nothing to save them from that terrible fate.”

    Rod said that the Government’s position on sporting contact with Zimbabwe was contradictory.

    “The Government is refusing to pass legislation to stop the Black Caps’ tour of Zimbabwe, saying that it is unwilling to undermine NZ Cricket’s right to be free from government interference. However, it has already been quite willing to interfere in NZ Cricket’s business by preventing Zimbabwe’s tour to New Zealand in December from going ahead.

    “Why is it that our cricketers’ right to play in Zimbabwe is inalienable yet their right to play cricket with the Zimbabwe team in New Zealand is not? In truth, the Government’s position is nothing more than hollow rhetoric. It’s just a smokescreen to divert attention from the fact that the Government does have the political will to do what the majority of Kiwis want it to do: pass legislation to prevent the Black Caps’ tour from going ahead.”


    Rod’s release

    and see also the Green speeches on this issue under Analysis, below.


  • Christchurch – Peace Week Events August 6-12

  • . A lot has been organised in Christchurch for Peace Week, which starts on Hiroshima Day, August 6. Sixty years since the explosion of the Hiroshima bomb, it is a good time to reflect on the meaning of that event, and renew the struggle against nuclear and other forms of war. The events are as follows:

  • Photographic Exhibition – A Legacy of Poison on Depleted Uranium

  • , and International Peace Pilgrimage. Dates: 1-6 Aug. Venue:Our City Cnr Worcester Boulevard & Oxford Tce. Dates:8-12th Aug. Venue:University of Canterbury Central Library

  • Peace Statement

  • – Peace in our Hands-Hiroshima Day – A creative and positive peace statement. Date: August 6th. Time:10am to 4 pm. Venue:south side of the square outside the ANZ. (We provide a large strip of calico, lots of paints, aprons, brushes, music, free food… you provide creativity.)

  • Ceremony – Anniversary of Hiroshima & Nagasaki Lantern Ceremony and Peace Poetry

  • Date: Saturday 6th August .Time: 5pm – lantern ceremony, 6pm — peace poetry.

    Venue: Victoria Sq.

  • Vigil – All Night Vigil in support of people of Zimbabwe

  • .

    Date: Saturday 6th August 7:30pm – 11:30am Sunday Aug 7th.

    Venue:Outside Anglican Cathedral, Cathedral Square

  • Film – Christchurch premiere of ‘Tau Te Mauri/ Breath of Peace’

  • . “A documentary featuring stories of 8 well-known peace activists – Jack Rogers, Mary Woodward, George Armstrong, Pauline Tangiora, Bunny McDiarmid, Nicky Hager, Moana Cole and Kate Dewes.” Date: August 7th Time: 7:15pm. Venue: Academy Theatre, Arts Centre. Cost: $10 / $12

    9 pm – launch and social gathering in the Great Hall, Arts Centre. Come and meet four of the peace people featured, and the local filmmakers. Bookings essential from Academy Theatre: 366 0167.

  • Film – ‘The War Game’

  • . Date: Tuesday August 9th (Nagasaki Day), Time: 4pm.

    Venue:S5 Lecture theatre (Science block, Canterbury University). Free screening followed by an open forum on nuclear issues in New Zealand. Contact: lrb43@student

  • Film – ‘Sedition’

  • by Russell Campbell — the story of dissenters in WWIINDate: Thursday 11th August. Time: 2:15 pm. Venue: Rialto Cinema and also Sunday 14th at 1pm with Russell Campbell speaking. Book early to avoid disappointment

  • Auckland Actions

  • Rally for Justice and Peace in Palestine

  • . Date: August 6th. Time: 2pm to 3pm. Venue: QEII Square at Customs Street and Queen Street intersection, outside Downtown shopping centre.

  • Candle Floating Ceremony – Never again any Hiroshimas

  • – commemorating 60 years since the bombing of Hiroshima. With reflections, crane making, poetry, and music by Don McGlashan. Date: August 6th. Time 5pm to 7pm. Venue: Wintergarden, Auckland Domain.

  • Debate – ‘The Future of New Zealand Foreign Policy’

  • . Parliamentarians outline and debate their parties’ vision for NZ’s place in the wider world. Date: Tuesday, 16th August. Time: 6pm. Venue: Lecture Theatre Lib B28 (under General Library), Auckland University.

  • Wellington Actions

  • Anniversary Commemoration – Hiroshima Day 60th anniversary

  • , with speakers including Marian Hobbs MP; Sue Kedgley MP; Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer representing the Nuclear-free City of Wellington; Tania Cullen, student from Taita College; Dame Laurie Salas representing NCCD; and diplomatic representation. Date: Sunday, 7th August. Time: 1:30pm at the Hiroshima Peace Flame, Wellington Botanic Gardens. (If the weather is not good the commemoration will take place indoors at the Begonia House.)

  • Public Meeting – Waiwhetu Lower Hutt Peace Group ‘Election 2005’

  • – with representatives from the political parties represented in parliament. Date: Tuesday, 9th August. Time: 8pm, Waiwhetu Uniting Church, 6 Trafalgar Street, Lower Hutt.


  • Keep New Zealand Nuclear-Free

  • was, is and always will be the Green Party’s position. In speaking to New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Disarmament and Arms Control (Nuclear Propulsion Reform) Amendment Bill, (ACT MP Ken Shirley’s private member’s bill) at its first reading speech, in Parliament on 27 July, Keith Locke said:

    ”The Green Party will be opposing this bill.

    It seems clear that it is not really about nuclear energy or nuclear power but, from what Mr Shirley said, about getting a free-trade agreement with the United States. It is about playing up to the Bush administration.

    The explanatory note of the bill talks about the strains on the ANZUS relationship over a couple of decades.

    That is what the bill is about. It is not about nuclear power. It is about military power and the projection of military power with the use of nuclear weapons.

    I quote from an article in this year’s May-June New Zealand International Review by a respected defence-commentator, Dick Gentles, who says: “The only nuclear-propelled ships operated by the US Navy are the Nimitz class aircraft carriers and submarines. The carrier task force groups, including submarines, are the most critical element of American power projection capabilities. Their use depends on access to port facilities around the globe. The US Navy could not accept the precedent that would be set by a New Zealand policy precluding port access for these crucial assets. This is now a more important issue as the United States draws down its forces stationed in foreign countries and relies more on its power-projection capabilities to protect US interests.”

    That is what the bill is about, and ACT wants to go down the track of supporting the military power projection of the United States. Those carriers and aircraft carriers are the front forces of that country’s projection, including the invasion of Iraq. Of course, ACT did support the sending of New Zealand combat troops, along with the Americans, to Iraq.

    I refer to the question of safety, and of course the chances are not great that we would have a nuclear accident by a visiting nuclear-powered warship, but it is possible. So why take the risk? A nuclear accident could occur with a nuclear-powered warship ending up sitting on our seabed leaking radioactivity that would destroy our future for generations, in terms of fishing and everything else. Why take that risk?

    Mr Shirley has portrayed those with nuclear-powered warships as being infallible, virtually. He said there was no chance of accidents in that respect. We know that accident after accident involving nuclear-powered warships has happened.

    Members might have seen on their television screens a couple of weeks ago that this year the USS San Francisco, a nuclear-powered submarine, struck an undersea mountain in the Pacific and smashed its front to smithereens. It was very lucky not to stay on the bottom.

    So these accidents do happen, and they have happened over the years with nuclear power. There was the big incident in 1979 at the Three Mile Island power plant in the United States. In 1986 the Chemobyl disaster occurred, where between 300 million and 400 million people in 50 nations were put at risk and a nuclear cloud spread right across Europe. There are radiation leaks from nuclear power plants or nuclear reprocessing facilities.

    Over the years there has been big controversy about the Sellafield Plant in Britain. The Irish Environment Minister, Martin Cullen, just said a couple of months ago that the plant should be closed down because it is still leaking radiation into the Irish Sea.

    Lockwood Smith says there are great Americans. There are. There are great Americans who are fighting nuclear power and nuclear weapons. In fact, just recently a whole combination of native Americans, actors – all sorts of people – have been fighting for an end to nuclear power in the United States, and particularly against the putting of 44,000 tonnes of nuclear waste into one of the Indian reservations in Skull Valley.

    There are people in America who are fighting nuclear power and the Bush administration’s policies around the world that have a nuclear spearhead. We should be alongside those Americans. Those are the Americans we are making friends with in order to end the more aggressive policies of the Bush administration and its policies in relation to nuclear energy, too.

    Nuclear energy is not an efficient form of energy. It exists around the world only because it is heavily State subsidised. ACT should not be pushing it, because as far as I know it is not in favour of State subsidies. ”

    (Mr Shirley’s bill was voted down, and will not go for a second reading.)

  • Let’s Stand Up For Human Rights — Everywhere

  • – said Green MP Metiria Turei, speaking in Parliament on 26 July. Here is the rest of what she said:

    ”I rise to speak on behalf of the Green Party, and particularly of our human rights and foreign affairs spokesperson, Keith Locke.

    The Greens want the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and of course the ministry, to be focused on promoting human rights around the world in a more systematic and bold way that they are now.

    Labour has gone considerably further than the preceding National Government on human rights issues, but sometimes it baulks at the final hurdle. We have seen that over the last month on Zimbabwe.

    The Government has taken a strong stand against the Zimbabwean cricket team coming here in December this year, because of the inhumane, repressive actions of the Mugabe regime, and the Government will not be giving visas to a visiting Zimbabwean cricket team. The Prime Minister also moved a strong motion today condemning the Black Caps’ cricket tour of Zimbabwe. However, if that does not shift New Zealand Cricket and get it to go to the International Cricket Council to get out of its Zimbabwe contract, then stronger action is needed.

    Only the Green Party is pushing for that stronger action.

    Only the Greens have pushed a draft bill that would make the Zimbabwe tour technically illegal, and provide a token fine on New Zealand Cricket of up to $50,000. That would definitely get New Zealand Cricket out of its International Cricket Council contract. Our bill would not infringe on any person’s right to travel, but would just put a token sanction on New Zealand Cricket for going ahead with an official tour in the same way that economic sanctions, which New Zealand has enforced in the past on several countries, put some legal restraints on businesses trading overseas.

    On China, the Government has spoken out against some of the actions of the one-party Chinese regime more than the previous National Government did, however Labour has been fairly timid about pushing for the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination, and it does not acknowledge Taiwan’s right to self-determination.

    In both cases, the Green Party is not advocating independence but is just promoting the right of the people themselves to determine their own constitutional structures.

    Our co-leader, Rod Donald, sparked a wave of support across New Zealand when he held up a Tibetan flag outside Parliament Buildings during the visit by the head of the Chinese National People’s Congress.

    The Green Party strongly upholds the rights of all Chinese people who stand up for their rights of free speech and organisation, and the right to religious freedom. The Falun Gong meditation group, for example, is severely put down in China today. Many thousands of their group have been arrested and even killed.

    One of the reasons our Government’s human rights’ promotion is a bit weak is that trade interests are often seen as pre-eminent. The Labour Government is very keen on getting a free-trade agreement signed up with China, and although that does not mean it goes completely quiet on human rights, it does mean that it is treading too softly.

    In Burma, MPs representing the democratic party were forced into exile when the military junta cancelled the result of the 1990 election, won overwhelmingly by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The visiting MPs were pushed for an economic boycott of Burma. I recognise that this Government has sanctions on visits here by members of that regime, but the Government should go further.

    This is one of those areas where the Greens think that the Bush administration is actually doing better than New Zealand – wash my mouth out! It bans imports from Burma, and it bans investment in Burma.

    Standing up for democracy in our region is particularly important, and is perhaps the real test. It is relatively easy to speak out against the repression in Darfur, which is so far away, and when we do not have much in the way of political or economic relations with the Sudan.

    The test in our region and in the Pacific today is how strongly we speak out for democracy in Tonga. There is a big divide in Tonga between the monarchy, which runs the show, and the people who vote in each election mainly for candidates of the human rights and democracy movement. Over the last couple of months we have seen big protests in Tonga over their struggle to achieve democratic Government, economic justice, and an end to corruption.

    It will require a strong Green presence in the next Parliament, and perhaps in the Government, to get Labour to speak out much more strongly for human rights in Tonga and elsewhere.”

  • Human Rights Denied A Sporting Chance In Zimbabwe

  • . ‘Where’s the spirit of cricket?’ ask Rod Donald in Parliament on 26 July, speaking to the motion calling on NZ Cricket to abandon the Black Caps tour to Zimbabwe. Here is his speech:

    “That this House, noting with grave concern the oppression by the Government of Zimbabwe of its own people and its gross violation of human rights, calls upon New Zealand Cricket to abandon the proposed Black Caps tour to Zimbabwe, and urges the International Cricket Council to exclude Zimbabwe from international tours while gross human rights abuses continue in that country.” – passed 110 votes for to 10 votes against (ACT & Maori Party)

    The Green Party strongly supports this motion. It is the least that this Parliament should do.

    Back in April when I wrote to the Prime Minister asking her to do everything in her power to stop the Black Caps tour of Zimbabwe, she said that personally should would not be seen dead there, but “the Government does not tell them where to tour or where not”.

    So the Government has come a long way since April. Today’s motion, by calling on New Zealand Cricket to abandon the proposed Black Caps tour to Zimbabwe, recognises that our sporting heroes are about to become pawns in Mugabe’s power game.

    The road to this point has been long and tortuous, but nothing compared with what the people of Zimbabwe have had to put up with over recent weeks, months and years.

    The motion falls short of banning the Black Caps tour outright. That contrasts with the Government’s excellent decision to ban the Zimbabwe team’s visit to New Zealand in December. Of course they should not come here while Mugabe continues to brutalise his people, but why is it that our cricketers’ right to play cricket in Zimbabwe is inalienable, yet their right to play cricket with the Zimbabwe team in New Zealand is not?

    For all its good initiatives, such as raising the Zimbabwe situation with the G8, the IMF, and the UN Security Council, the Government’s failure to stop the Black Caps from leaving New Zealand while stopping the Zimbabwe team from coming here could be seen as a double standard. Unless today’s motion does lead to New Zealand Cricket withdrawing the Black Caps it will be like waving a wet bus ticket at Robert Mugabe.

    It matters not that bus tickets, wet or dry, are of little use in Zimbabwe at the moment, because there is no fuel for its buses to run on. Mugabe has already made it plain what he thinks of New Zealand’s diplomatic initiatives through its ambassador to China who claims that China has rebuffed New Zealand’s attempt to ask that regime not to prop up the Mugabe regime.

    Mugabe’s belligerence, and the immorality of the International Cricket Council led the Green Party to conclude that the only way the tour could be stopped was to pass legislation making it illegal for the Black Caps to go to Zimbabwe. We did not propose that legislation lightly, but neither do we believe it breaches our New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Unfortunately our Prime Minister labelled it “Mugabe-style legislation”, even though she knew it was nothing of the sort because freedom of passage is not threatened. We have confirmed that the bill is consistent with our New Zealand Bill of Rights with a legal opinion from Russell McVeagh.

    The question now remains whether today’s motion does constitute a “clear directive”, as required by the International Cricket Council. If it does then New Zealand Cricket could pull out and abandon the tour without fear of penalty, which was our objective all along. I hope that the Government will convey that the overwhelming view of this Parliament is that the tour does not proceed, and that it tells Martin Sneddon promptly of that view, and that he in turn instructs his players to return to New Zealand.

    It is time to call the International Cricket Council’s bluff on this issue. The Indian Government did not pass legislation to stop its team going to Pakistan, but unfortunately Phil Goff asked the International Cricket Council what he should do rather than telling it what we are going to do. We say that it is all very well to play by the International Cricket Council’s rules, but if the rules are rigged against fair play then we must make our own laws.

    The International Cricket Council talks a lot about “the spirit of cricket”. What the people of Zimbabwe face is an illegitimate dictator, masterminding a deliberate campaign of genocide against his own people. If that does not infringe the spirit of cricket that the International Cricket Council holds so dear, I do not know what does.

    The recent United Nations report says that Mugabe’s “Operation Drive Out Trash” is a disastrous venture that has left 700,000 people homeless or jobless. The UN demands that those responsible be punished because it has been carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner.

    So I ask, which is the greater evil: suspending the right of New Zealand Cricket to send a sports team to Zimbabwe, or letting Robert Mugabe and his henchmen continue to destroy the hopes and dreams of a nation? All too often we are powerless in the face of Government oppression and human tragedy. In Zimbabwe we can make a difference.

    When Norman Kirk sent the frigates, Otago and Canterbury to Mururoa in 1973, he did not expect the French Government to stop nuclear testing overnight, but that symbolic protest galvanised our nation and changed the course of history.

    Stopping the Black Caps’ tour is another symbolic gesture. It will not stop Mugabe and his atrocities overnight, but it will help to end his reign of terror, and it will help the people of Zimbabwe – all Zimbabweans, both black and white – to be able to sing with hope, rather than with despair, Henry Olonga’s song, which starts: “This land, our land, is our Zimbabwe, a land of peace for you and me, once born in pain and segregation, but now we live in harmony”.

JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP

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