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Bumper Summer Issue
A fortnightly Green Bulletin
*COPS ‘N’ GUNS — WHO’S PAYING FOR THE PROPAGANDA? was Green Party Police Spokesperson Keith Locke’s question to the Minister of Police on 22 February.
“Police Minister Annette King should stop dodging the issue and investigate the Police role in inviting five pro-gun lobbyists to be keynote speakers at the gun safety conference taking place in Christchurch”, Keith said.
“How does it advance safety to give a platform to speakers who promote more guns in the community and support people arming themselves for self defence?” he asked.
“Annette King should also investigate the ties of conference organiser, Police Inspector Joe Green, to the pro-gun lobby. One of the invited keynote speakers, Gary Mauser, carries a picture on his website
of Mr Green accompanying him on a hunting trip last year.
“Ms King and Inspector Green should explain how inviting people like Mr Mauser, or NRA lobbyist Mark Barnes, or American John Lott, who wrote a book, More Guns, Less Crime, advances the cause of gun safety.
“We also need to know how much Police money has been spent getting these pro-gun lobbyists to New Zealand.”
On 21 February Keith said that the New Zealand Police needed to explain why they are hosting this country’s largest ever gathering of international pro-gun lobbyists.
5 of the 7 keynote speakers at an “international firearms safety seminar” in Christchurch, co-sponsored by the New Zealand Police, the Mountain Safety Council and the NZ Council of Licensed Firearms Owners are prominent lobbyists opposed to gun control .
Speakers at the conference include:
• Mark Barnes, a registered Washington firearm industry lobbyist who declared having received US$360,000 from the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) in one year.
• John R. Lott, the world’s most controversial pro-gun researcher, who writes that the solution to school shootings is to arm the teachers, and whose recent book is titled More Guns, Less Crime.
• Rick Patterson, Managing Director of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI), is an American gun industry lobbyist who spoke at the United Nations last month, arguing that US and other civilian gun owners should be exempt from international gun controls.
• Colin Greenwood, a former UK police officer whose conference abstract says he will argue that the British handgun ban is “pathetic irrelevance”.
• Gary A. Mauser, a hard-line opponent of Canada’s firearms registry.
Find out more here
and for ACTION on this issue see the Action section, below.
SUMMER NEWS ROUND UP
SHUT DOWN GITMO. On 17th February Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson Keith Locke delivered a letter to the US Consulate in Auckland calling for the United States to follow a United Nations recommendation and close down its Guantanamo Bay detention centre. “The harsh treatment of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, and lack of due process, is no longer acceptable to the international community,” Keith said.
“The European Parliament is leading the way with a motion yesterday that the United States close its facility at Guantanamo.
Keith submitted a Notice of Motion for the New Zealand Parliament on 22 February asking:
That, in the light of the UN Commission of Human Rights report on Guantanamo Bay, this House endorses the position adopted by the European Parliament on Febuary 16, which:
1. Calls on the US Administration to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and insists that every prisoner should be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law and tried without delay in a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, impartial tribunal;
2. Condemns all forms of torture and ill-treatment and reiterates the need to comply with international law;
3. Stresses that contemporary terrorism, particularly global terrorism directed against democracies and their populations, poses a threat to the basic and fundamental human rights our societies enjoy;
4. Reiterates that the fight against terrorism, which is one of the priorities of the Union and a key aspect of its external action, can only be successfully pursued if human rights and civil liberties are fully respected;
HOW NEW ZEALAND CAN HELP ZIMBABWE. On 10th February Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke met with a high profile member of the Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Mrs Sekai Holland. Mrs Holland was in Wellington to meet government ministers and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and development and human rights NGOs.
“Mrs Holland was appreciative of the actions that the New Zealand Government and Green Party have taken to isolate the Mugabe regime. She also asked that New Zealand support calls for the International Criminal Court to prosecute President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe Government officials for crimes against humanity such as the bulldozing of thousands of homes.
“The ICC can initiate an investigation on two grounds — if the state concerned has ratified the Rome Statute or if the United Nations Security Council refers it. Zimbabwe has signed the statute but has not ratified it. Therefore we need the UN Security Council to order an inquiry into Zimbabwe. The New Zealand Government should be actively lobbying for this to happen,” Keith said.
NO PLACE FOR TASER GUNS IN NZ. News that New Zealand Police will trial Taser stun guns later this year is cause for alarm, Green Party Police Spokesperson Keith Locke said on 9 February.
“Overseas, Tasers have been associated with many deaths. They are particularly dangerous to people with pre-existing heart conditions and other medical concerns. These risks have been documented by Amnesty International.
“As well as medical concerns, there is a strong risk that Tasers will be used excessively, as is the case in the United States. From this perspective, it is deeply concerning that Superintendent Tony McLeod said yesterday that Tasers can be useful against ‘unarmed’ offenders.
“The Greens would like the Taser trial to be cancelled, but if it does go ahead it should at the very least be restricted to use only on armed offenders.
GAPS IN TOP SPOOK’S ACCOUNT. Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) head Warren Tucker’s entry into the public debate over his agency is welcome, but his opinion piece raises more questions than it answers, said Green MP Keith Locke on 31 January.
“We’re past the point where New Zealanders can blindly accept assurances that this Bureau is acting in our national interests, when we know that the US National Security Agency is filtering phone, fax and email data coming through Waihopai.
“The NSA has already admitted using their network, which includes Waihopai, to spy on members of the UN and garner support for the US invasion of Iraq. Now the Lange papers reveal that the network was used to spy on the UN as well as Japan and France.
“Mr Tucker needs to explain how being part of US-led spying efforts on the UN and friendly nations is in our national interests,” says Mr Locke, “because there is obviously a huge diplomatic downside to New Zealand being portrayed as a spying tool of the Bush, Blair and Howard governments.”
“Our spy agencies need to be more accountable to the public. While entering the debate is a good start, Warren Tucker needs to say more than just ‘trust me, I know what I’m doing’ next time,” said Keith.
HAPPINESS IS NOT A WARM GUN, ANNETTE. Let the Minister of Police know how unhappy you are about pro-gun propagandists appearing at a NZ Police event, and ask how much taxpayer’s money was spent on it, and how she can possibly justify it.
E-mail her at
Annette [dot] King
ministers [dot] govt [dot] nz
, call her on 04 470 6554, fax her on 04 495 8445, or write to her (no stamp required) at Parliament Buildings, Wellington . Be polite, but firm!
”I’LL SING TO YOU, A SONG OF PARIHAKA…”
There will be many songs at the Parihaka International Peace Festival, Taranaki, March 10-12, 2006.
In addition to the music, there will be film, comedy, a Peace Forum, jamming, and tree planting. Featured musicians include Whirimako Black, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Anika Moa, Katchafire,SunControlSpecies, Antix, Rhian Sheehan, Nick Taylor, Max Maxwell, House of
Shem, Ardijah, and Upper Hutt Posse. (Featured peaceful Greens include Nandor Tanzcos and Metiria Turei.)
The Parihaka International Peace Festival celebrates the vision and example of 19th century peace leadersTe Whiti and Tohu, and the openness of the people of Parihaka to advocate non-violent action in the face of oppressive forces and daunting odds. For further information visit
parihaka [dot] com
“If any come with guns and swords, be not afraid. If they smite you, smite not in return.” Te Whiti O Rongomai
CAUTION REQUIRED WITH IRAN. New Zealand should be cautious about referring Iran’s nuclear programme to the UN Security Council, and avoid falling into line with the United States on the issue Green Party Disarmament Spokesperson Keith Locke said on 3 February.
“Referring Iran’s nuclear programme to the Security Council will achieve nothing. In fact, it is likely to be counterproductive.
“The most likely outcome of Security Council involvement is that Iran will exercise its legal right to cancel IAEA spot inspections. These inspections are currently the best tool available to restrain Iran from advancing a nuclear weapons programme. Surely it is better to have regular inspections, and leave dialogue channels open, than to alienate Iran further from the international community.
“New Zealand can and should be a voice of reason on this issue, championing the IAEA role in restraining Iran’s nuclear programme. ”
JustPeace is produced by Christine Dann, Hannah Scott and Keith Locke, MP
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