Global Action Day on Military Spending

Here in New Zealand, I’ve just been to one of the first events of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, a panel of speakers organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa.

The Stockholm Independent Peace Research Institute figures for 2011 military expenditure have just been released, there’s a summary available here.

Edwina Hughes from PMA spoke about the trillions of dollars spent globally on arms by all militaries of the world’s nations. She was followed by Anne Else from CPAG, who spoke about the effect a small proportion of the NZ MOD spend would have on the outcomes for alleviating poverty in this country. In NZ, we spend a bit over $NZ 3 billion each year, and as has been reported in the news today, not all of that spending is considered, wise or even fully accountable. Then we heard from Tara D’Sousa, International Programmes Manager, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, who spoke about the failure of NZ to keep up with it’s commitment to meet 0.7% of GNI as a target for overseas development assistance, which is a UNDP target.

More Back Benches!

I realise that this may seem to be the only thing that I’m doing lately, which is not true, but I’m just not blogging here about other stuff I’m involved in.

So, moving right along, this week’s lineup is:
Labour MP Phil Goff, Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira, and National MP Michael Woodhouse.
Details here.

Could be worth attending for the fireworks.
TV7 is still likely to be closing down mid-year, so if you’ve ever enjoyed participating in the circus that is live filming of pub politics, come down.

I once again failed to make it along, but there was certainly a good crowd handy, have a look here. Phil Goff got a minor ragging from Wallace for his first appearance ever on the show (not ever having been a Back Bencher while the show has been recording before now) and both Hone Harawira and Michael Woodhouse had strong showings.

Otherwise, my lovely green friends, you will have to suffice yourselves with Pints’n’Politics, the latest brainchild of the local branch worthies, who fancy sitting and talking about politics without the intrusion of floor managers, cameras, Damian or Wallace.

There was a trial run at the Southern Cross in Te Aro CBD a while back, and it’s being mooted as a ‘first-of-the-month’ travelling circus, so that the day of the week varies each month to capture all those people who are busy every Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday, etc and won’t commit to another regular event.

Kick-off is Sunday April 1st, prolly around 3pm, and venue still being disputed, I mean discussed. I’ll keep you posted about how that turns out, and provide details if the decision comes down that it is to be widely promoted. *sigh*

Nicky Hager on Media7 tonite

Big Nicky Hager and Bruce Ferguson interview on TV7 at 9pm

Rumoured to contain ‘startling’ revelations.

As I understand it, this pertains to information Nicky alluded to at the launch of his book “Other People’s Wars” last week.

Details here at Scoop, and here at Media7.

The actual episode is now available from TVNZ On-demand, here.

Protest against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza

In response to the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces in bombarding the Gaza strip, there was a protest this afternoon which gathered outside MFAT in Lambton Quay at midday.
A letter was presented to a representative of the Ministry, to be given to Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully, demanding that NZ expressed a position on the actions of the Israeli Government.

Presenting WPG's letter to MFAT officials.

Presenting WPG's letter to MFAT officials.

[full text of the letter can be read here WPG’s blog ]
After presenting the letter, the assembled protesters marched along Lambton Quay, Willis Street and Mercer St to Civic Square, converging on the plaque in Harris St adjacent to the Public Library commemorating Yitzhak Rabin, former Prime Minister of Israel.
Lead banner of protest

Lead banner of protest

There Don Carson spoke about the effects of separatist policy on the Palestinian peoples in Israel, and red paint was symbolically sprinkled on the memorial in lieu of blood.
Rabin memorial being daubed with red paint.

Rabin memorial being daubed with red paint.

Approximately 500 people attended this march.
Speakers included members of the Wellington Palestine Group, Green MP Keith Locke, and entertainer Te Kupu, aka Dean Hapeta, one half of the Upper Hutt Posse.

The Herald notes that Hon Mr McCully has developed a position here.
And here’s Guy Body’s contribution to the discussion.