This is the 30th anniversary of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone legislation of 1987. It is one of the most significant parts of recent NZ history, but many young people or those new to this country do not know about it. It is important not just for New Zealanders but as an example for humanity to have courage to work through the political process to abolish nuclear weapons before they are used by mistake or intent to destroy our world.
The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Campaign of the 1980s provides a successful model of how the people of this country worked to achieve a major milestone for peace, nuclear disarmament and a world without war. The NZNFZ policy was the outcome of organised peaceful protest and political lobbying. This methodology can be used in any country to mobilise political will to reject nuclear weapons, militarism and warfare.
There were a variety of NZ peace and protest groups but it was the NZ Nuclear Free Zone Committee established by Larry Ross in 1981 that presented a Strategy Plan accepted at the Annual NZ Peace Conference in October that provided the recipe for success based on 5 Principles:
1/ Public Education: nuclear war info.sheets from authoritative sources – mass produced and distributed
2/ Petition: to establish a NWFZ based on 1978 UN Disarmament Resolutions on the importance of national or regional Nuclear Free Zones to limit proliferation and increase security
In addition, the petition called for withdrawal from the ANZUS nuclear alliance, to be replaced by a new defence and foreign policy of Peacemaking Neutrality. This focussed NZ's role on providing non-military services to prevent or stop wars, plus humanitarian aid to war survivors.
3/ Promotion: of Nuclear Free New Zealand Peacemaking policy plan were presented in authoritative media articles, interviews and marketing peace merchandise that popularised the ideas
4/ Peace groups: were established in every neighbourhood, to lobby MPs and local councils to declare Nuclear Free Zones as the foundation to achieve this goal as central government policy.
5/ Protests: marches, rallies, meetings, art, music, letterwriting, to keep out nuclear ships, create media attention and mobilise society to reject nuclear wargames and nuclear defence ideology.
By 1984 there were 86 NZ cities declared Nuclear Free Zones (61% pop) by local councils which provided the essential platform for voting in a government that adopted the policy.
By 1987 this increased to 105 local councils (72% pop) which ensured the government enshrined the policy as legislation in the Nuclear Free Zone Disarmament and Arms Control Act.
Over the last 30 years the peace movement continues to reinforce this historic achievement and develop the ideas for peace into social action, through creating Peace City policies, cultural events, exhibitions, books, movies and peace education, teaching disarmament and non-violence in schools.
When we confront the reality of the horror of the Hiroshima nuclear bombing over 70 years ago we reawaken the determination that we must eliminate these weapons of mass destruction.
Nine nations still possess 15,000 nuclear weapons. Less than 100 would kill millions of people in a few hours. Yet the 9 nuclear weapon states are investing a trillion dollars of taxpayers money to create new nuclear weapons. This violates their commitment under Article VI of the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty agreement to proceed with disarmament as promised for over 45 years.
New Zealanders can help people in other countries, to bravely liberate themselves from nuclear weapons ideology, militarism and break free from the shackles of warfare culture mentality.
New Zealand peace groups continue to pursue nuclear disarmament through various international channels eg. WILPF, Abolition 2000 and ICAN the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons www.icanw.org.nz The mobilisation of 100s of NGOs at three Humanitarian Conferences on the Consequences of Nuclear Weapons, produced the Humanitarian Pledge (Austria Dec 2014) supported by 126 nations to pursue a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.
The failure of the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference in April 2015 to make progress on nuclear disarmament led to the UN Open Ended Working Group meetings in 2016. This resulted in the UN General Assembly resolution in December to proceed with negotiations on a legally binding Treaty for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in March and June/July 2017. Altho' the 9 nuclear weapon states refuse to engage in the process, the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty stigmatises possession of nuclear weapons and discourages investment in them. Prohibition is a necessary first step towards elimination, as with chemical and biological weapons, cluster munitions and landmines. Public pressure on nuclear weapon states is required for them to meet their NPT commitments to disarmament.
Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons Leading to their Total Elimination was achieved by 122 states at the United Nations on 7/7/17. The Treaty bans development, testing, production, possession, transfer, use and threat of use, deployment, stationing or assistance with nuclear weapons. It is open for signing on 20th Sept 2017 and requires 50 states for ratification.
1/ Community: Support for Peace and Disarmament groups eg: UNANZ, the Peace Foundation, WILPF and others who provide civil society with effective channels for collective action. (eg.make donations, take membership, sign petitions, join marches, attend meetings, have a community peace education stall, etc) Engage in lobbying work to convince government to redirect military investment into social, and environmental policies that improve the well-being of society. Taxpayers money for employment programmes, affordable housing, mental healthcare, family guidance, non-violence training, peace and disarmament education in schools.
2/ Nationally: Support for Nuclear Free NZ Peacemaker defence and foreign policy, focussed on non-military services to enhance global security, by supplying humanitarian aid, education, health, housing to civilians and refugees in wartorn countries or those suffering environmental disaster. NZ needs to retrain its military as a Peace Corps and invest in rebuilding hospitals, schools, water and electricity reticulation, rather than prepare to fight more military wars. Write letters to MPs and the media that call for our government to invest in Peacemaker policy action.
3/ Internationally Support for: United Nations Peacekeeping, Peacemaking and Peacebuilding services to stop or prevent wars and the violation of human rights. *
Peacekeeping is the process of monitoring a ceasefire, disarming militants, dismantling weaponry by a neutral multinational peace force etc. This is coupled with Humanitarian Aid to civilians.
Peacemaking is providing mediation and diplomacy services to all protagonists for engaging in the political process to agree on peace treaties based on justice and human rights.
Peacebuilding involves 10 year plans to establish justice and reconciliation systems to address grievances, plus develop the economic and employment structures for societies to recover from war and prevent renewed hostility.
Peace education and training for establishing less violent cultures and peaceful societies
* Please read American peaceworker David Swanson online in: www.worldbeyondwar.org for better understanding of 'A Global Security System - Alternatives to War' with practical plans and policy structures to implement our higher intelligence as Human Beings to develop a more peaceful world.
designed and powered by knightbridge