Minister of Defence Mark Mitchell has become a Weapons Industry spokesperson this week. The Minister issued a statement on Friday advocating for private companies to cash in on the $20 billion being pumped into the military budget.

Apparently he sees his job as promoting war profiteering by private firms. He said ‘Defence represents huge opportunities’. We’d like to remind the minister that the opportunities in war are death, horror and human misery, not profitable business deals.

The Defence Industry is the arms trade – plain and simple. They profit from war. The National government thinks an economy based on endless wars and death is a great way to boost growth. We think a war economy is not only morally repugnant, but it is economic suicide as well.

At a time when there is a massive arms build up in the Pacific, and war talk from the US and North Korea, the Minister is ramping up New Zealand’s role in this new arms race. In the same vein, our health, education and welfare services are under incredible stress – yet they get nothing like the cross-party support and new equipment that the military does.

New Zealand does not need a standing army of 5,000 people – especially one that gets sent over to prop up US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We need a civilian peace force to protect us from the devastating effects of climate change, to protect our oceans from exploitation, to build homes and hospitals, and to assist in times of crisis. We don’t need offensive cyber-weapons for waging electronic wars or new frigates to fight for oil in the Middle East.

There used to be a Minister of Disarmament in New Zealand. The National government got rid of that role. Perhaps they should be more honest and simply call Mark Mitchell what he actually is: the Minister of War Making.

 

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