The Government’s Well-Being Budget appears to be crafted to ensure the health of US weapons companies, not ordinary New Zealanders. The early release of defence budget figures alongside rumours about the soon-to-be-released Defence Capability Plan indicate that the government’s priorities are way out of step with ordinary people. US weapons giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing are being fed on money that should be going to health, education, welfare and the arts.
This government is set to earmark $5 Billion for new war planes: new P8 spy planes for the Five Eyes global spying ring at a cost of $2.4 billion and new C130J troop transport at $2.5 billion. This expenditure is in the absence of any demonstrated increased military threat to New Zealand. Is it pressure from Trump’s man in Wellington Ambassador Scott Brown or simply the demands of NZ First who are driving this massive ramp up in war spending?
This kind of spending is obscene when we have so many people suffering so much in New Zealand.
Any military expenditure should aim to clean up the mess from PFOS foam contamination at military bases around the country, pay for reparations to the Afghan families who were subjected to the Operation Burnham raid, and pay for support of the NZ veterans who are suffering from PTSD and growing illness and injury related to their time of service. These should be top priorities for the any “Well-Being” budget. With the money that is left in the Defence Budget, the 9,500+ active military personnel could be deployed to build houses for the homeless, provide dental care to people across the country and fill other urgent needs from environmental restoration to community support.
We don’t want these new weapons purchases nor the continued expense of the deployment of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and endless military training with the US and Australia.
New Zealand’s well-being is built upon peacemaking efforts, not on building up a military arsenal and preparing to fight new wars with the US.
People in this country are keen to be part of international efforts to eliminate war – from our support of the global nuclear weapons ban to our sponsoring of a UN resolution on Palestine. This is the kind of work we want to be doing.