Peace group gears up for new battle over arms fair

August 21, 2017

Peace group gears up for new battle over arms fair

Auckland Peace Action is taking on this year's arms fair. Photo: Arun Jeram

The Auckland Peace Action group is gearing up to take on the upcoming New Zealand Defence Industry Association’s annual forum in Wellington.

The forum will be held between October 10 and 11 at the capital’s Westpac Stadium and will bring more than 500 delegates to the NZDIA website describes as “a critical event that brings Government, Defence and industry both international and local together in New Zealand”.

But spokesperson for the Auckland peace group Virginia Lambert said the portrayal of the forum as a business meeting was dishonest.

“[This forum] is engaging with massive weapons dealers who are literally profiting from wars in Yemen and Syria where there are massive humanitarian crises.”

Last week more than 30 members met to plan their approach to this year’s event.

APA protested against the same forum at Auckland’s ANZ convention centre last year, when they claimed to have shut out 350 delegates for eight hours.

“We blockaded the weapons expo and keep them out which was amazing.”

APA is planning on mixing up its strategy for this year’s forum.

“We will be using creative arts tactics as well as more traditional blockading mechanisms.

“We will be bringing war to that area. We want to bring home some of the carnage that you see in war.”

APA members say their ultimate aim is to see New Zealand completely disarmed.

“We think that Aotearoa should be demilitarised. We don’t think there is any need for arms at all. What threats do we face?”

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