Stop Rocket Lab’s Militarisation of Space

Press release: [ 21/06/2021]

Rocket Lab has been launching satellites for the United States military and private companies, breaching our Nuclear Free status, making New Zealand complicit in U.S. military practices, thereby making New Zealand a military target. Auckland Peace Action is calling for the government to immediately suspend Rocket Lab’s launches of military payloads, which contribute to the weaponisation of Space and ongoing warfare on Earth.

Peace activists from Auckland Peace Action, the Nuclear Free movement, and the community, are today protesting outside Rocket Lab’s Auckland headquarters, and in Nelson. We are demanding an immediate halt to Rocket Lab’s launches of surveillance and military satellites in New Zealand, in order to stop the militarisation of Space.

“We are alarmed that Rocket Lab, a U.S. owned company, has been allowed to launch classified U.S. military satellites and surveillance satellites for private companies such as Black Sky, a U.S. company that features an aerial view of a refugee camp as one key image on its website.” says Auckland Peace Action spokesperson Eliana Darroch

“We have grave concerns about the future use of these satellites as tools for future conflict and war on Earth.”

“The U.S. military satellites launched by Rocket Lab can control activity such as communications with troops, surveillance and reconnaissance, intercepting information or spying, and targeting weapons, like drones, bombs, and also nuclear weapons. This goes against New Zealand’s Nuclear Free stance.”

“If we send these satelites into Space with U.S. military capacities, we are complicit in the drone and precision bombings and other acts of warfare which the United States does.”

“New Zealand was instrumental in the 2017 international treaty banning nuclear weapons, and we are proud of being a Nuclear Free country. Launching satellites capable of controlling nuclear weapons is unacceptable.”

“New Zealand should not be part of enabling these dangerous satellites to go into Space. The New Zealand Government must immediately suspend Rocket Lab’s launches until a public review of the Outer Space and High Altitude Activities Act has taken place. It is due for review this year.”

As a signatory of the Artemis Accord, the Government has committed to the peaceful exploration of Space. “Once we launch these satellites, the New Zealand Government has no control over what these satellites do. It is hypocritical for the New Zealand Government to want peace, yet allow Rocket Lab’s military payload launches to continue.”

“Rocket Lab, with its connections to the Pentagon through its board and investors including a CIA venture capital firm, and Lockheed Martin, is a private company defining New Zealand’s foreign relations. Rocket Lab is creating links between New Zealand and the U.S. Military that the public have not consented to. That is undemocratic and dangerous.”

“Rocket Lab’s launches of military satellites puts New Zealand’s safety at risk. By using Aotearoa as a Space militarisation launch-pad, Rocket Lab puts us on the map as a military target.”

“This matter is too serious for the Minister of Business, Innovation, and Employment to manage. This is a matter of New Zealand’s foriegn policy, our Nuclear Free status, our peace role in the world, and who we ally with. We do not want to be part of the U.S. Military industrial complex.”

Spokesperson Eliana Darroch said “We support tangata whenua at Māhia, where the Rocket Lab launch pad sits. We oppose Rocket Lab in solidarity with mana whenua who are opposed to the military launches.”

ENDS

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