Keith Locke on Military Manoeuvres Act Repeal Bill



It is my great pleasure to announce that the Green Party will support the Military Manoeuvres Act Repeal Bill. I think the points made by the previous speaker, Rajen Prasad, were very apt—

Hon Annette King

: Dr Prasad.


: Dr Prasad, sorry. I think an omnibus bill would be the best way out. We have Statues Amendment bills where a whole lot of little non-controversial changes can be put into one bill. Certainly, the Military Manoeuvres Act 1915 and other redundant Acts could be dealt with together. Perhaps Mr Bakshi’s bill will stimulate the Government into action and perhaps in a month or two we will see such an omnibus bill. I think this bill meets with support from a wide range of groups within the community. The ACT Party will be speaking next and no doubt as absolutist defenders of private property rights it will defend private property holders against the intrusions of people whether or not they be in suits or in kaki. I look forward to that speech. This bill will meet with the approval of pacifists who do not like any military manoeuvres at all, and also many older people in our society do not like loud noises. They will be supporting this bill. Also young children could be very frightened by people running around carrying big guns, and the use of camouflage paint. Also gardeners do not want their cabbages trampled by the boots of troops going through their fields, nor do they want their land affected by the toxic after-effects of explosions, although it has to be said that sometimes bombs going off aerate the soil. But most farmers want to do those themselves. This bill has not been used for 30 years, although I did get an email 8 years ago from a woman who lives in Kawerau Island, right by the beach. She was on her morning walk and was very surprised to see camouflaged troops emerging from the shrubbery and then loud explosions. She and her neighbours were very upset that they had not been informed that the military was performing there. Perhaps the military thought this Act was still operational. That is perhaps one of the important passages of this bill that will see an end to all of that. It is interesting that this bill was enacted in 1915 at a time when the military was more powerful, backed up by conservative politicians, where not only were the military grabbing people’s land for manoeuvres but it was conscripting many young people and marching them forcefully and sending them off to be slaughtered in their tens of thousands in Europe. If we look at it in that context and look at it the way the Act Party will—defending private property rights—then whatever angle one comes from we must support Mr Bakshi in passing this bill tonight.