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Keep space for peace – opposition to New Zealand’s space industry and its military connections


NZ’s $1.7 billion space industry rockets away, but a law review sparks more debate about controversial military payloads, Stuff Amanda Cropp, Oct 17 2021
  ”………………..   how far and how fast the New Zealand space industry has come since Rocket Lab’s first test launch blasted off in 2017 from its Māhia Peninsula launch site, with millions being invested by the Government and the private sector.A review of the Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act that regulates launches and payloads received only 17 responses last month, but consultation on the “peaceful, sustainable and responsible” use of space, delayed until next year because of Covid-19, is likely to get a much more heated reception.

Peace groupsthe Green Party and members of the Māhia community have already been vocal about their opposition to Rocket Lab’s military work in the wake of the controversial Gunsmoke-J satellite it launched for the United States Army Space and Missile Defence Co………….

…… The Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act outlaws payloads that contribute to nuclear weapons programmes or capabilities, harm, interfere with or destroy other spacecraft or systems on earth; support or enable specific defence, security or intelligence operations that are contrary to government policy, or are likely to cause serious or irreversible harm to the environment…………….

Space for Peace

In March, 17 peace groups wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying the Gunsmoke-J launch appeared to breach both the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act and the Cabinet-approved to payload assessments.

They argued that because US military strategy was increasingly using satellite systems to control and direct nuclear, as well as non-nuclear, weapons, it was extremely difficult to determine whether any given satellite was contributing to supporting this weapons system.

……… In mid-September the Anti-Bases Campaign had about 100 attendees at a Keep Space for Peace webinar, and organiser Murray Horton says they were primarily concerned Rocket Lab’s Auckland and Māhia operations effectively constituted a US base in New Zealand, albeit a privately owned one.

Sonya Smith of the Māhia’s Rocket Lab Monitoring Group says they want future regulations to include a clause outlawing payloads that will “assist in the operation of a weapon”.

Professor Kevin Clements is a member of the Peace Foundation International Affairs and Disarmament Committee, which was a signatory to the letter to the prime minister, and he does not believe MBIE is the appropriate agency to vet payloads.

“They have a vested interest in seeing [space] is a thriving industry bringing dollars into the New Zealand economy. This needs to be handled by the prime minister’s department.”……..  https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/126560061/nzs-17-billion-space-industry-rockets-away-but-a-law-review-sparks-more-debate-about-controversial-military-payloads

October 18, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, space travel | Leave a comment

New Zealand PM says Australian nuclear subs will NOT be welcome in country’s waters

New Zealand PM says Australian nuclear subs will NOT be welcome in country’s waters,  https://7news.com.au/politics/federal-politics/australian-nuclear-subs-not-welcome-in-nz-c-3978704 7 News, Ben McKay, 16/09/20

Australia’s planned nuclear submarine fleet won’t be welcome in New Zealand, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The new submarines are the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security tie-up of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

NZ has been left out of the AUKUS alliance, despite being a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, along with AUKUS members and Canada.

The country has been staunchly nuclear-free for decades, earning the ire of treaty partner US by declining visits from its nuclear-powered ships.

“We weren’t approached by nor would I expect us to be,” Ardern said.

“Prime Minister Morrison and indeed all partners are very well versed and understand our position on nuclear-powered vessels and also nuclear weapons.

Australia’s planned nuclear submarine fleet won’t be welcome in New Zealand, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The new submarines are the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security tie-up of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

NZ has been left out of the AUKUS alliance, despite being a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, along with AUKUS members and Canada.

The country has been staunchly nuclear-free for decades, earning the ire of treaty partner US by declining visits from its nuclear-powered ships.

“We weren’t approached by nor would I expect us to be,” Ardern said.

“Prime Minister Morrison and indeed all partners are very well versed and understand our position on nuclear-powered vessels and also nuclear weapons.

That of course means that they well understood our likely position on the establishment of nuclear-powered submarines and their use in the region.”

Ardern said by law, and by a consensus of NZ’s major political parties, nuclear-powered vessels would not be welcome. 

“Certainly they couldn’t come into our internal waters,” she said.

Ardern declined to say whether it would be appropriate for Australia’s new fleet to sail in the Pacific but welcomed interest from the US and the UK in the “contested region”.

“I am pleased to see that the eye is being tuned to our region, from partners that we work closely with.”

Some Kiwi experts believe the AUKUS formation shows an Australian acquiescence to US foreign policy.

“It highlights that much deeper level of Australian integration into US defence and security planning and thinking,” Victoria University professor David Capie told The Guardian.

“New Zealand and Australia were in a different space to begin with and this has perhaps just made that look sharper again.”

Ardern said the new alliance “in no way changes our security and intelligence ties with these three countries”.

NZ’s opposition is less sure, with leader Judith Collins saying other aspects of the defence alliance would be worth involvement.

September 18, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mururoa nuclear test veterans fight for their children and grandchildren

Mururoa nuclear test veterans fight for their children and grandchildren, Stuff Jimmy Ellingham, Sep 11 2021  Forty-eight years after 500 Kiwi sailors were sent to French Polynesia to protest French nuclear testing in the Pacific the effects on their health and families continue to reverberate.

Those aboard the HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Canterbury were several dozen kilometres away from the atmospheric tests they witnessed at Mururoa Atoll.

The sailors drank, washed in and cleaned their clothes in desalinated water from the fallout zone, and the ships’ decks were washed down with it.

In 2020, an Otago University study of 83 sailors and 65 children published in the New Zealand Medical Journal found they were at higher risk of transferring genetic illnesses across generations.

The research found 30 per cent of veterans had cancer and 31 per cent joint problems. Among their children, 40 per cent reported fertility problems, while many chose not to have offspring of their own because their fathers were exposed to radiation.

The veterans can get help or certain health conditions. Their descendants can’t get anything.

The Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group, an incorporated society representing the men from the two frigates and HMAS Supply, is working to change this.

Retired Rear Admiral Jack Steer, who didn’t serve at Mururoa but works with the group to advocate for veterans, said children and grandchildren were affected by their fathers and grandfathers being exposed to radiation on the protest mission.

The group wants to see as many veterans and descendants as possible tested to see if there is a link.

“A number of the veterans have died of various forms of cancer and some of them are very unwell. They believe they were eradiated. This test will prove beyond reasonable doubt whether they were.”

The group wanted to collect blood samples, so they’re available for scrutiny as science advances. It’s a costly process. Each sample costed $117, although the group had secured a place to store them, Steer said.

The group was hoping to secure government funding for testing, as had happened for Operation Grapple veterans, who witnesses British nuclear testing in the Pacific in the 1950s.

Steer said the Mururoa veterans weren’t after compensation.

“What they want is that testing proves that their children and grandchildren were exposed to radiation or affected by their dads’ exposure to radiation.”

The group had recently secured $50,000 funding from the Returned and Services’ Association to start the testing project……. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300404527/mururoa-nuclear-test-veterans-fight-for-their-children-and-grandchildren

September 11, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Harrowing stories reveal decades of fallout for nuclear test veterans,

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Harrowing stories reveal decades of fallout for nuclear test veterans, STUFF, Jimmy Ellingham , June 12 2021 

 More than 500 young Kiwi sailors were unwitting witnesses to British nuclear testing in the Pacific in the late 1950s. Jimmy Ellingham talks to three men who were there.

One by one they spoke of cancers and birth defects in their children.

Four decades after Operation Grapple, hydrogen-bomb tests off Christmas Island witnessed by New Zealanders on two frigates, HMNZS Rotoiti and Pukaki, the stories were harrowing and the suffering unbearable.


It was the early days of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, created through the efforts of navy veteran Roy Sefton, from Palmerston North.

At the city’s Returned and Services’ Association home, Grapple sailors shared their stories of the tests’ after-effects.

“I knew people were sick. I didn’t know how sick. I didn’t know about the generations,” says Pukaki veteran Clive Strickett.

“That really broke me up.”

Sefton told veterans to bring their wives and children. They told stories of miscarriages and, in extreme cases, babies born with missing limbs.

“There wasn’t a dry face in the place,” Strickett says, remembering the moment when the terrible effects of what they were exposed to hit them.

“Everyone cried. It was so terrible. We decided that we’ve got to do something about this.”

That gathering in the late-1990s was also when fellow Pukaki sailor John Purcell learned what his old mates and their families were going through.

“A person speaking had throat cancer. He was in terrible trouble.

“As I sat there and listened to all the other disabilities that our members and their families have had, I suddenly realised that I had a story to tell as well.”…………….

In the fallout zone

In August and September 1958, there were five nuclear tests off Christmas Island, south of Indonesia, as Britain looked to match the arsenals held by the United States and Soviet Union.

Strickett saw three, the second of which was huge, 20 times bigger than Hiroshima, he says.

“That’s a huge explosion. That created a huge vapour cloud across the Pacific we had to monitor. We had to monitor it until it evaporated.

“It took days and days to evaporate, so we were under that cloud for a long time.”

It rained. Hard. Pukaki had a problem with its salt water condenser, so an awning was put up to collect rain water for washing and drinking. This potentially exposed the crew to more radiation.


Strickett remembers the explosions as horrific, although they were an amazing sight. Beautiful, some said.

“It was picturesque, but it wasn’t for me. I can’t say I enjoyed it. I don’t think we were prepared for it.”

Sailors were told to tuck trousers into socks and cover their eyes. Those on deck sat with their backs to the detonation zone and waited.

“We did that and the bomb went off, and that was it for me. I could see the bones in my hand. It was scary.”

For that second, big bomb, after two minutes the men were told to open their eyes and look towards the blast.

“It was right in front of us… It was huge.”

Purcell saw four tests. Two smaller ones and two big ones, equivalent to 800,000 tonnes and 1 million tonnes of TNT, respectively.

Protective clothing wasn’t up to much, he says – a pair of trousers, hat and gloves.

“It’s so archaic they thought this was the uniform that would assist us with the blast..

“The biggest blast was a huge mushroom that climbed. It took up the whole horizon.”

Purcell also remembers sitting with his back to the blasts, waiting for them to explode as naval officers counted from one to 40.

“The explosions were rumblings in the distance. Then you felt the heat on your back.”

He also saw the bones of his hands, a common memory of Grapple veterans. “That’s the biggest memory I had, really.”

Toomath was below deck for two or three explosions. In recent years he’s learned that may have been the worst place to be, as the boiler room sucked in air from outside.

“We had all the radiation coming down.”

But at the time he felt safe.

“I was in the boiler room for one of them. I think that was the biggest one. I know it got pretty hot down there. It was that hot I couldn’t even touch the handrails on the ladders.”

Above deck he saw the Pukaki steaming towards a huge mushroom cloud full of lightning and thunder, but was told not to worry.

“We were just young, innocent. We were up there for adventure.”

The aftermath

Purcell spent 8½ years in the navy before joining the prison service, including being in charge of Napier Prison.

His list of medical ailments is substantial. He doesn’t want to delve into the detail, but it includes cancer.

Purcell gets a war veterans’ pension because of his health, but such support, which was hard-won, does not extend to children or grandchildren of veterans.

In 1966, Purcell’s daughter Lynette was born with a hole in her heart and cerebral palsy. She was never able to sit up unsupported and died in her mid-40s……………………..

Waiting for an apology

Sefton, the Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association’s chairman, died in January, aged 82. Bulls Grapple veteran Tere Tahi, who was aboard the Rotoiti in 1957, has taken over his mate’s mantle and is determined to meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

He estimates about 60 veterans survive and the association wants an apology for the young men who were put in harm’s way and the effect the blasts had on their health.

It also wants research undertaken and medical help for children or grandchildren of veterans.

Association patron Al Rowland is a retired Massey academic involved in research that found there was long-term genetic damage to the veterans and their families, but this hasn’t been enough to convince the New Zealand or British Government.

Toomath says support for veterans’ children and grandchildren is crucial, as is understanding the effects of radiation exposure down the generations. He would like to see research into this.

Strickett says he doesn’t need money from a payout, but would like an apology.

Like Toomath he wants the Government to fund research into Grapple veterans’ descendants and for it to push the British Government into acknowledging it was wrong to risk the young sailors’ lives.

Purcell says he’ll write a letter to the latest Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Meka Whaitiri, as he has done to her predecessors.

“What I find hard to accept is the lack of recognition from the Crown that these young boys were handed over to the Government to be treated like guinea pigs.

“If the testing was so safe why didn’t the British carry it out on their own shores?

“All we want is simply a public apology for the treatment of all navel test veterans and their whānau. That’s not hard.”

Purcell and Toomath are featured in a photography exhibition at Te Manawa Art Gallery, Palmerston North, until August.   https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300330166/harrowing-stories-reveal-decades-of-fallout-for-nuclear-test-veterans

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June 12, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pacific Nuclear test veterans encouraged quest for apology will succeed  

Nuclear test veterans encouraged quest for apology will succeed  https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300309768/nuclear-test-veterans-encouraged-quest-for-apology-will-succeed, Jimmy Ellingham May 17 2021  Pacific nuclear test veterans are encouraged their quest to gain a long-awaited apology for being exposed to radiation appears to have ministerial support

Kiwi sailors on the decks of the HMNZS Rotoiti and HMNZS Pukaki witnessed atomic explosions and collected weather data during Operation Grapple, Britain’s Pacific nuclear testing programme of the 1950s.

The New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, which represents the more than 500 Kiwi sailors involved, is pushing for a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The association wants an apology for the sailors, and help for medical problems in their children and grandchildren.

To lay the groundwork for the prime ministerial audience the association’s chairman, Tere Tahi, of Bulls, has met with Veterans’ Affairs Minister Meka Whaitiri.

Tahi said last week’s audience with the minister, her secretary and head of Veterans’ Affairs Bernadine Mackenzie went well, a feeling he hadn’t had from meetings with previous ministers.

“They were mighty to talk to. The minister was really good and she said that she’ll do what she can for the veterans.”

The trio listened to arguments about how what the navy veterans went through had affected their children and grandchildren. Tahi and his son James represented the association.

At present the veterans can get help for medical problems, but their offspring cannot.

Tahi said Whaitiri was asked if she could approach Ardern about a meeting, and she said she would try.

“We put our case across to her [Whaitiri], which is what we wanted to do. She was very good.

“We want recognition. We want an apology.”


The association’s plan was to argue its case to Ardern on humanitarian grounds, telling the stories of its members.

It’s thought about 60 of the Kiwi sailors are still alive.

The association’s plan was to argue its case to Ardern on humanitarian grounds, telling the stories of its members.

It’s thought about 60 of the Kiwi sailors are still alive.

The association was formed in the 1990s. At a reunion about that time it became clear many veterans were affected by cancer and other health 

May 18, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New Zealand nuclear veterans want apology and compensation from the government

New Zealand’s nuclear horror still not acknowledged say vets  Stuff, Janine Rankin May 02 2021 Photos on a wall, names on a board and an academic study will ensure the radiation damage to 551 men who witnessed Britain’s nuclear bomb explosions in the Pacific is never forgotten.

But what the New Zealand survivors of those blasts really want is an apology and compensation from the Government.

The stories of the nuclear veterans and the subsequent heartache and illness affecting them and the off-spring of those who had families have been retold in Palmerston North this weekend.

It was the third opening of Denise Baynham’s exhibition of the photographs and stories of navy veterans “Operation Grapple, We were There” at Te Manawa art gallery……………

……..   The men exposed to those bomb blasts, many times more powerful than the bombs that ended World War II in Japan, suffered radiation damage, and still do.

A carefully controlled sample of 50 veterans showed three times the frequency of genetic damage, technically called total chromosome translocations, than the control group.

Rowland is now the association’s patron, and he and Sefton’s close friend and successor Tere Tahu are determined to have the Government acknowledge the harm done.

They have a meeting with Veterans’ Affairs Minister Meka Whaitiri on May 10, with the goal of gaining an audience with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Veteran John Purcell said until now, they had only received “a wall of silence” from successive ministers.

“It is my belief that the Crown abrogated its duty of care by dispatching HMNZS Pukaki and Rotoiti to take part in the British nuclear testing, being fully aware that we were being sent into harm’s way.”

What he wants is a public apology, a public acceptance of the research findings, urgent research regarding the children and grandchildren of veterans, and compensation.,   https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/125002784/new-zealands-nuclear-horror-still-not-acknowledged-say-vets

May 3, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Growing opposition to Rocket Lab in New Zealand

Rocket Lab: Growing opposition in New Zealand. By Murray Horton, 18 Apr 21,

Rocket Lab started life as a small New Zealand company but is now much bigger and has become the local subsidiary of a US company, with its owners including arms industry behemoths such as Lockheed Martin. 

It specialises in frequent launches of small satellites for clients including a range of US military and intelligence agencies. These launches are conducted from New Zealand, which prides itself on being nuclear free (it was kicked out of the ANZUS Treaty in 1986 by the other two parties – the US and Australia – for having banned US nuclear warships from entering. That remains the status quo today). 

NZ also claims to have an independent foreign policy. But it remains the most junior of the Five Eyes global electronic spying network (with the US, UK, Canada and Australia). Having Rocket Lab operating a private enterprise space port in New Zealand for US military and intelligence agencies, with the active backing of Jacinda Ardern’s Government, totally undermines that claim.

Rocket Lab has, up until recently, received uncritical, even adulatory, coverage by the NZ news media. That, plus the fact that its’ launch pad is in a very remote, sparsely populated area (the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast) means that it has been off the radar (pardon the pun) of the NZ public. 

In 2021 that is now changing. Mainstream media coverage has become more critical, the best example being  “Mahia, We Have A Problem”, by Ollie Neas in the March 2021 North & South (a national monthly magazine). And opposition has started, right in Rocket Lab’s back yard, in the Mahia area, led by local Maori women (Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand). 

There was a protest against Rocket Lab’s most recent military satellite launch; the group – Rocket Lab Monitor – has taken its case to the local media; and, via billboards, etc, directly to the people. They have set up a Website

Opposition is also being organised on a more national scale – New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world and Rocket Lab’s assembly plant and headquarters is situated in the country’s biggest city, Auckland.
 
Murray Horton
Secretary/Organiser
Anti-Bases Campaign
Christchurch, New Zealand

April 20, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

New Zealand groups oppose launch of U.S. military nuclear satellite

a security expert has suggested it puts New Zealand into “the kill chain” and makes New Zealand a military target. 

March 9, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, politics international, Reference, space travel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Glaciers in New Zealand – extreme melting due to global heating

August 4, 2020 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand | Leave a comment

New Zealand stood up to the nuclear bullies- the Rainbow Warrior story

NZ gained ‘international creds’ as nuclear-free nation with Rainbow Warrior bombing, says author, Asia Pacific Report

By PMC Editor -June 29, 2020   From RNZ Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

New Zealand established its credentials as an independent small nation after the fatal bombing of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in 1985, says an author and academic who spent weeks on the vessel shortly before it was attacked.

On 10 July 1985, the Rainbow Warrior was sunk at an Auckland wharf by two bombs planted on the hull of the ship by French secret agents.

The event is often referred to as the first act of terrorism in New Zealand.

LISTEN: The Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan Crime NZ interview with David Robie
WATCH: Eyes of Fire archival videos
READ: The Eyes of Fire book

Two French agents planted two explosives on the ship while it was berthed at Marsden wharf, the second explosion killing Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira.

Dr David Robie, who is an AUT professor of journalism and communication studies, as well as the director of the university’s Pacific Media Centre, had spent more than 10 weeks on the ship as a journalist covering its nuclear rescue mission in the Pacific.

He wrote about his experience in Eyes of Firea book about the last voyage of the first Rainbow Warrior – two other Rainbow Warrior ships have followed.

In 1985, Rongelap atoll villagers in the Marshall Islands asked Greenpeace to help them relocate to a new home at Mejato atoll. Their island had been contaminated by radioactive fallout from US atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific.

Environmental journalism
“At the time I was very involved in environmental issues around the Pacific and in those days Greenpeace was very small, a fledgling organisation,” he tells Jesse Mulligan.

“They had a little office in downtown Auckland and Elaine Shaw was the coordinator and she was quite worried that this was going to be a threshold voyage.

“It was probably the first campaign by Greenpeace that was humanitarian, it wasn’t just environmental – to rescue basically the people who had been suffering from nuclear radiation.” ……….

Moruroa protest planned
The US had carried out 67 nuclear tests at the Marshall Islands. France was also carrying out 193 tests in the Pacific and Greenpeace had planned on confronting that situation at Moruroa Atoll after its Marshall Islands rescue effort.

New Zealand had already voiced disapproval of the testing in the region, with then Prime Minister David Lange in 1984 rebuking the French for “arrogantly” continuing the programme in the country’s backyard.

Dr Robie left the ship when it docked in Auckland after the Marshall Islands stage of the mission. Three days after the ship had docked, a birthday celebration was held for  Greenpeace campaign organiser Steve Sawyer onboard. The attack happened after the party.

Just before midnight on the evening of 10 July 1985, two explosions ripped through the hull as the ship.

Portuguese crew member Fernando Pereira was killed after returning on board after the first explosion……..

Thirteen foreign agents were involved, operating in three teams. The first team brought in the explosives, the second team would plant these and the third was on stand-by in case anything went wrong with the first two teams.

“A commanding officer kept an overview of the whole operation. I think there was an element of arrogance, the same arrogance as with the testing itself. There was a huge amount of arrogance about taking on an operation like this in a peaceful country – we were allies of France at the time – and it is extraordinary that they assumed they could get away with this outrageous act.”

Two of the spies were caught. Two General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) officers, Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart, were arrested on July 24. Both were charged with murder, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Repression of independence movements
“You have to see it within the context of the period of the time,” Dr Robie says.

He says that the French policy of repression against independence movements in New Caledonia and Tahiti, with assassinations of Kanak leaders like Eloi Machoro, needed to be understood to put the Rainbow Warrior attack in perspective. France was bitterly defending its nuclear force de frappe.

“New Zealand was unpopular with the major nuclear powers and there was certainly no sympathy for New Zealand’s position about nuclear testing. So, there wasn’t really any co-operation, even from our closest neighbour, Australia……..

The case was a source of considerable embarrassment to the French government.

“They did pay compensation after arbitration that went on with the New Zealand government and Greenpeace. But justice was never really served… the 10 years were never served, both Prieur and Mafart were part of the negotiations with French government.

NZ was held ‘over a barrel’
“Basically, France had New Zealand over a barrel over trade and the European Union, so compromises were reached and Prieur and Mafart were handed over to France for three years. Essentially house arrest at Hao atoll, the rear base of the French nuclear operations in Polynesia.”

Dr Robie said the rear base was widely regarded as a military “Club Med”.

He says they didn’t even spend three years there, but left for France within the time period.

While the attack was on an international organisation rather than New Zealand itself, most New Zealanders saw it as an attack on the sovereignty of the nation

Dr Robie says it left a long-lasting impression on New Zealanders.

“It was a baptism of fire. It was a loss of innocence when that happened. And in that context, we had stood up as a small nation on being nuclear-free. Something we should have been absolutely proud of, which we were, with all those who campaigned for that at the time. I think that really established our independence, if you like, as a small nation.

“I think we have a lot to contribute to the world in terms of peace-making and we shouldn’t lose track of that. The courage that was shown by this country, standing up to a major nuclear power. We should follow through on that kind of independence of thought.” https://asiapacificreport.nz/2020/06/29/nz-gained-international-creds-as-nuclear-free-nation-with-rainbow-warrior-bombing-says-author/

June 29, 2020 Posted by | incidents, New Zealand, politics | Leave a comment

The most effective leader in the world – Jacinda Adern

New Zealand’s Prime Minister May Be the Most Effective Leader on the Planet.  Uri Friedman 19 April 20  The Atlantic Amid the Trump administration’s calamitous response to the Covid-19 pandemic, media have been looking to other countries for inspiration in responsible leadership during a period of crisis. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has been one popular pick, having capably managed to limit the damage to only 1,504 infections and 22 deaths, as of June 5.

A widely shared article in the Conversation (4/5/20) described Ardern as putting on a “masterclass in crisis leadership.” The Washington Post (4/7/20) characterized her government’s response as a “triumph of science and leadership.” Elsewhere, she has been praised as “the most effective leader on the planet” (Atlantic4/19/20) who “should be teaching the rest of the world” (Guardian4/10/20). The Financial Times (4/19/20) unironically anointed her “Saint Jacinda.”

Despite its obvious geographical and economic advantages, New Zealand certainly deserves praise. But less deserving have been the European countries corporate media consistently highlight as outstanding performers. With over 185,000 cases and 8,763 deaths, Germany has one of the highest per capita fatality rates in the world. Yet Chancellor Angela Merkel has drawn effusive praise as somebody who “embraces science” (Atlantic4/19/20Guardian4/16/20Financial Times4/3/20). CNN (5/7/20) proclaimed her a “global leader on coronavirus”; Vox (5/21/20) said she’d been “praised for her clear and effective communication with her country — and the world.”

In its editorial on crisis leadership, the New York Times editorial board (4/30/20) also praised Merkel (while attacking China for supposedly covering up the outbreak). They highlighted and applauded the leadership of several other countries, including Denmark, Norway and Finland. Amazingly, the editorial also singled out and commended Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose inept response has led to Italy having the third-highest number of deaths in the world at the time of its publication.

There was far less praise for leaders in the Global South. Indeed, the only one mentioned by name was Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen, and this was primarily because she “sent millions of face masks to the United States and Europe”—although with 443 total cases and only seven deaths, Taiwan has had a far more enviable record on Covid-19 than most of the countries featured in the editorial. True Asian leadership, according to the Times editorial board, is helping white people, apparently.

June 8, 2020 Posted by | New Zealand, politics | 1 Comment

Climate change: lakes and rivers will become drier, increasingly infectious and toxic

Climate change: lakes and rivers will become drier, increasingly infectious and toxic, Stuff NZ, Olivia Wannan, Apr 30 2020  

By dragging our feet on climate action, we increasingly condemn our beloved lakes and rivers to a future of salmonella contamination, algal blooms, species extinctions and drying out, a new report warns.

Our Freshwater 2020, produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ, is a stark reminder that the already-threatened health of our waterways rests on our ability to urgently shift away from fossil fuels.

Even if emissions stay at historically low levels, temperatures will continue to rise in the coming decades, due to the lag between releasing greenhouse gas and the effects on our atmosphere, seas and waterways.

As the climate warms, rain storms will intensify, snowfall will decrease, glaciers will melt, soils will dry out and the sea level will rise – each affecting our lakes and rivers.

In the east, regions such as Hawke’s Bay will see increasingly low waterways by the end of the century, says Ministry for the Environment departmental science advisor Dr Alison Collins.

In the west – particularly in the South Island – rivers and lake levels are expected to rise, potentially leading to flooding.

After extreme downpours, drinking water and swimming spots are at high risk of being contaminated with infectious tummy bugs such as salmonella and harmful strains of E.coli, she says. Northern and remote eastern communities with less-developed water supply systems are particularly vulnerable.

Toxic algal blooms will become more common, as warmer temperatures reduce the mixing between upper and lower levels of deep lakes, boosting nutrient levels at the surface and algal growth. Without the waters mixing, the lake bottom is also deprived of oxygen, which drives out animals such as crayfish (kōura) and mussels (kākahi).

Combined with pollution and habitat loss, climate change is likely to push some freshwater species – both native and introduced – to extinction, the report says. …… https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/121178883/climate-change-lakes-and-rivers-will-become-drier-increasingly-infectious-and-toxic

April 30, 2020 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand | Leave a comment

New Zealand veterans await nuclear radiation genetic testing study

January 9, 2020 Posted by | health, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

One small nation shows how to be nuclear- free and climate friendly – theme for November 19

Citizen Advocacy: The Achievements of New Zealand`s Peace Activism, Asia Pacific Journal Pinar Temocin and Noriyuki Kawano, October 1, 2019 Volume 17 | Issue 19 | Number 2Abstract

Aotearoa New Zealand provides an important example of successful citizen activism in the form of anti-nuclear peace advocacy. The collective efforts by peace actors over several decades resulted in the successful demand for a nuclear-free nation. This paper highlights the widespread participation and political support that facilitated the process and assesses its achievements.

Introduction  New Zealand, a small and isolated country, is a rare example of a nation achieving nuclear-free status. The peace-seeking nation unified around an anti-war narrative, and moved from activism based on public awareness and engagement to the passage of laws that eliminated nuclear weapons through a number of stages: from the first generation of movements against the atomic bomb after 1945 to the response to French nuclear testing in the late 60`s to US and UK nuclear warship visits in the 70`s and the early 80`s. As part of this shift, the US-led military alliance with Australia and New Zealand (ANZUS) was redefined by New Zealanders from a guarantee of security to a threat that posed a security dilemma. As this essay shows, social consciousness and activism was ultimately successful in bringing fundamental change. The Labor Party, in particular, played a critical role in translating strong public participation on the part of a broad section of the population into a significant policy outcome: `the creation of a peaceful and nuclear-free nation`. 

This mobilization involved persistent and substantial public pressure over decades. Public pressure to change the nation’s foreign policy also included opposition to involvement in the United States-led coalition in the Korean and Vietnam wars. As these wars came to an end, the matter of nuclear testing became a hot-button election issue forcing each political party to adopt a policy on nuclear weapons. The anti-nuclear argument was placed within a broader moral vision. New Zealand peace advocates problematized the threatening conditions and demanded a solution under the narratives of a `democratic, egalitarian, decolonized, independent, non-violent, non-militarist nation which is intrinsically based on `a peaceful nation`. A peaceful nation for them required a nuclear-free approach in its domestic and foreign policies. To achieve this, they organized actively, coordinated professionally, sustained effective campaigns, and engaged in the policy-formation and shaping process.

Since the end of the 60s, successful protest movements have established new modes of political participation in advanced democracies.1 In some democratic societies including New Zealand, social movements have benefitted from tolerant political structures. Their success depends further on specific configurations of resources, trustworthy institutional arrangements, and historical precedents for social mobilization that facilitate the development of protest movements.2

Strong democracies are conducive to positive engagements and interactions between citizen and the state. The strengthening of practices of participation, responsiveness to a majority, and the development of inclusive and cohesive societies are powerful components of the democratic decision-making process. Therefore, citizen participation in governance with a responsive, open, and tolerant state can produce positive effects based on popular consensus……https://apjjf.org/2019/19/Temocin.html 

New Zealand passes historic zero carbon bill with near unanimous bipartisan support – The New Zealand parliament has passed landmark legislation that enshrines the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement into law, and will see the country achieve zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 ….. https://reneweconomy.com.au/new-zealand-passes-historic-zero-carbon-bill-with-near-unanimous-bipartisan-support-33500/

November 9, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change, New Zealand, opposition to nuclear | 2 Comments

Deadline looms for nuclear veterans and descendants study

A Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group is encouraging veterans and their families to come forward to take part in a study before the deadline closes.  In August, the group put out newspaper advertisements, wanting all veterans who were deployed to Mururoa Atoll in 1973 and their families, to be part of a study which closes at midnight today.

The study lead by University of Otago associate professor David McBride will look into the connection between nuclear veterans and their children, who may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation.

So far only 166 people had signed up, according to Mururoa Nuclear Veterans president Gavin Smith.

Mr Smith implored more to join, saying about 500 people went to the Christmas Island and were exposed to nuclear tests in the 1950s and about 500 went to Mururoa during the 1970s.

“Everyone who has a veteran father or grandfather that served there and has maybe deceased or may be living but mentioned nothing of it, I urge them to contact the University of Otago,” he said.

He said the study was crucial because veteran’s children may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation, which could make their offspring more susceptible to conditions like leukaemia and auto-immune diseases.

“Our study is open to all nuclear veterans. If we don’t do it in our generation, it’s going to be an even bigger battle for the next generation.”

The group, which was established in 2013 to press the government to help families with nuclear related illnesses, had 135 members who served at the protest.

Of those, 56 had children or grandchildren with unexplained medical conditions.

Testing would begin next week at the University of Otago, with a timeframe and details on the study yet to be confirmed.

November 7, 2019 Posted by | children, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment