Stop NZ taxpayer-subsidised technology being used in bombs

New checking mechanisms are needed to prevent New Zealand companies from exporting technology that ends up being used by military forces in unjust wars, Green Defence and Disarmament Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

He was commenting after reports today that New Zealand company Rakon, indirectly assisted by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, is adapting its GPS crystals for use on American ‘smart bomb’ missiles.

“Most New Zealanders would not want their taxes to even inadvertently assist the development of the deadly military technology being used in places like Iraq and Afghanistan — where innocent people are often on the receiving end,” Mr Locke says.

“New Zealand does have a good regime controlling the export of strategic military goods. It just needs to be tightened up to cover new, innovative products that weren’t initially designed with military purposes in mind.

“Furthermore, New Zealand manufacturers should be required to report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade if they are adapting any of their products for military use.

“Rakon has done marvellously in its crystal exports to many countries, and it would be unwise to tarnish its reputation with such US military contracts.

“Kiwis don’t want a New Zealand company to develop smart bomb technology and be doubly unhappy if the company had originally developed that technology using Government funding that was aimed at civilian use. Clearly Trade and Enterprise contracts should require companies to notify the agency if products it supported are later modified for military production.

“New Zealand’s marketing image around the world is as an exporter of clean and green products for peaceful uses, lets not stuff that up,” Mr Locke says.