In this year’s budget, the government can create a massive surplus by stopping the funding of state terrorism and spying. Instead, there should be a peace budget prioritising health, education, environmental and welfare needs.
Today, once again, the National government’s budget will bump up spending on the spy agencies and the military. Over the past 10 years, there has not been a single year when these agencies haven’t received an injection of new money. This will be a war budget from a war government.
The NZDF has been deployed to Afghanistan for 15 years now in a war that has terrorised local people. The allegations in the book Hit and Run about the actions of the SAS are not even the first instance of serious crimes committed by the army. These raids should actually prompt a major re-think of the government’s funding of the military.
Instead, the National government has promised a $20 billion spend up on new weapons for the military over 15 years to continue a war of terrorism alongside the US.
In the same vein, the GCSB budget was $42 million in 2007. This year, it was $135 million, a 220% increase. This is despite widespread public opposition to the expansion of the agency’s powers to spy on New Zealanders and to its role in the US’s drone war.
National security is achieved by reducing poverty, inequality and injustice, not sending soldiers off to fight foreign wars on behalf of the US empire and spying by the GCSB on the US targets.
People in this country would be totally disgusted to realise that the scarce budget dollars are going to global weapons manufacturers, when ordinary New Zealanders wait for life-saving surgery, and live on the streets for lack of public housing.
We need a peace budget not more dollars for war.