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Open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: Say no to RIMPAC military exercises

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Parliament
Wellington

Tēnā koe Prime Minister,

We are writing to urge New Zealand's withdrawal of participation and support of RIMPAC, the world’s largest, US-led military exercise due to begin in June.

RIMPAC includes over 26,000 troops from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam. Prior to the global spread of Covid-19, New Zealand had planned to send in excess of 300 troops.

Given the global Covid-19 pandemic, it is irresponsible to send New Zealand soldiers to interact with local communities in Hawai’i and to interact with soldiers from dozens of other nations. There is every probability that soldiers will transmit the virus, exacerbating the spread and imposing heavy tolls on vulnerable communities.

At present the nuclear-powered US Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is evacuating 2700 troops, due to Covid-19 infections, onto the island of Guam, where soldiers will be housed in hotels or other private facilities putting further strain on the community where there have already been three deaths from Covid-19. On Thursday, two sailors assigned to separate San Diego-based military vessels tested positive for the disease. This is just a prelude to the spread of Covid-19 within armed forces across the globe.

As important as the Covid-19 issue is to RIMPAC this year, it is not the only reason why New Zealand should not be there. RIMPAC is primarily intended to cement US military domination of the Pacific. As a participant, New Zealand is contributing to this military showcase of imperial violence and ecological destruction in places such as Hawai’i and Guam.

We know the threats brought by militarisation are many, one being the increase in sex trafficking of indigenous children in Hawai'i. It is just one of the aspects of RIMPAC that repeats the reckless spread of disease used to erase indigenous communities by military voyages in the Pacific over generations.

The New Zealand public never agreed to be a part of the US-led alliance, and our values stand at odds with the abuse of our Pacific neighbours caused by RIMPAC. In 2018, RIMPAC used humanitarian aid and disaster relief to cloak these exercises in a veil of legitimacy. This language seeks to obscure the very real death and destruction caused by these same militaries across the globe.

In light of the appeal from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, endorsed by the Pope, for a global ceasefire and to instead focus on combating Covid-19, it is especially inappropriate for the NZDF to participate in such extravagant war preparations as RIMPAC 2020.

New Zealand has the chance now to be a global partner and a model for other countries by choosing not to participate. New Zealand should completely withdraw from RIMPAC, this year and every year.

We look forward to your confirmation that New Zealand will not be participating in RIMPAC 2020.

Thank you.

Ngā mihi mahana,


Roger Fowler QSM
Chair, Mangere East Community Centre
Auckland

Dr. Emalani Case
Lecturer in Pacific Studies
Victoria University of Wellington

Helena Cook
Programme Director
Pasifika Pathways
Victoria University of Wellington

Anevili
Te Ara Whatu

Dr Lorena Gibson
Senior Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology
Victoria University of Wellington

Teanau Tuiono
TeAo Pritchard
Co-founders, Pacific Panthers

Alice Te Punga Somerville
Assoc Professor, Faculty of Māori & Indigenous Studies
University of Waikato

Ocean Mercier
Assoc. Prof. Māori Studies
Victoria University of Wellington

Jenny Taotua
Senior Pasifika Transition Adviser
Victoria University of Wellington

Dr. April K. Henderson
Senior Lecturer in Pacific Studies
Victoria University of Wellington

Emma Powell
PhD Candidate in Pacific Studies
Victoria University of Wellington

Sadat Muaiava
Lecturer in Samoan Studies
Victoria University of Wellington

Tim Corballis
Lecturer, Science in Society
Victoria University of Wellington

Herbert Bartley
Creative Director Pacific
Toi Rauwharangi, Massey University

Dr Dylan Taylor
Lecturer in Sociology
Victoria University of Wellington

Murray Horton
Secretary/Organiser
Anti-Bases Campaign

Peter Brunt
Art History
Victoria University of Wellington

Nathaniel Lennon Siguenza Rigler
PhD Candidate in Pacific Studies
Victoria University of Wellington

Walter Kawikaka'iulani Aipa
Native Hawaiian living in Aotearoa

Kassie Hartendorp
Community Organiser, ActionStation

Anne Waapu
Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu

Tarapuhi Vaeau

Gerard Hehir
National Secretary
Unite Union

Mike Treen
Spokesperson
Global Peace and Justice Auckland

Valerie Morse
John Anderson
for Peace Action Wellington

Eliana Darroch
Sam Vincent
for Auckland Peace Action

Dr Maria Peach

Sean Mallon

Robyn Dann

Maire Leadbeater

Dr. Nayantara Sheoran Appleton
Senior Lecturer, Centre for Science in Society
Victoria University Wellington

Amanda Thomas
Lecturer in Environmental Studies
Victoria University of Wellington

Tauiwi mō Matike Mai Aotearoa

John Minto
National Chair
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

Edwina Hughes
Coordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa

Sam Ritchie
Maire Christeller
Annabel Willow Bennet
Health Sector Workers Network Aotearoa

Dr Kate Dewes ONZM
Director, Disarmament and Security Centre

Dr Arama Rata
Senior Research Fellow, University of Waikato

Max Harris

Dr Evelyn Marsters
Co - Director New Zealand Alternative

Thomas Nash
Greater Wellington Regional Councillor

Nina Hall
Assistant Professor of International Relations

Johns Hopkins
SAIS & Co-Founder of New Zealand Alternative

Kaya Sparke

Janfrie Wakim
Palestine Human Rights Campaign

Hone Harawira
Leader, MANA Movement

Megan Hutching
for Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, Aotearoa Section

Richard Jackson
Professor of Peace Studies
University of Otago

Gia Ngatai-Smith

Fiona Clements
Environmental Justice Ōtepoti

Megan Brady-Clark

Dr Sharon Bell

Tarsha Te Rure
Kaiwhakahaere, Kohine Toa Aotearoa

Kalika Kastein
PhD Student, University of Otago

Timi Lagihiloa

Ben Meates
Masters Student - NCPACS

Wayne Green

Sheldon Foreman

Valentina Espinoza Caćeres

James Tremlett

Samantha Trieu

Jack Brazil
Environmental Justice Ōtepoti

Monique Olivier

Puawai Rangiuia

Liz Gibson
Mountains to Sea Wellington

Amanda Kahe Smith
Student of Māori and Indigenous Studies
Te Whare Wananga o Waikato (University of Waikato)

Glenice Bullen

Tuari
nga(t)i-tai hapu inc.

Poppy Johns
Research assistant in the Gender Dept.
University of Otago.
BA Hons in Gender Studies and Criminology.

Manauea Metuariki

Bethany Mataiti

Llonia Glynn

Johanna Knox

Scotty Cranwell

Rev Emily Worman
Church in Progress MCC

Felicity Stacey-Clark

Simon Lowe
Lecturer (Social Work)
University of Waikato. Tauranga

Kathy Dunphy

Vanessa Winter

Raymond Nairn
Tamaki Treaty Workers

Rebecca Chrystal

Alison Robins
Test Day Supervisor, Massey University

Rachael Baker

Jim Familton

Enya van Dulm

Nina Tonga

Janet Crawford
Anglican priest

Maringikura Campbell

Briar Allen

Lorna Kanavatoa
Chairperson
Waitangirua Village Community, Porirua

Philip Wills

Jacinta Hopkins

Catherine Davis

Karina Liddicoat
Research Analyst

Alexa J Masina
Oceania Speaks

Rachael Brown

Bailey Te Maipi

Avery Watson

Margaret Browne

Cassandra Gibbs-Low

Organise Aotearoa

Suha Sid Aksoy

Ellie K

Robyn White

Missy Mary Paul

Sherri C Maurin
Veterans for Peace, Affiliate

Louis Vitale, OFM
Franciscan Friars (OFM) and Co-Founder, Pace e Bene

Hannah Gibson

Tāwhana Chadwick
Ngāti Hori ki Kohupātiki

Ric Berkholtz

Cally O'Neill

Gail Ah-Hi

Christine Holland

Tejo van Schie

Peter Elsbury

Lauren Bartley

Dr Mark R. Titchener

Ivan Kitson

Judy Blakey MNZM, PhD
Director of Comprehensive Care PHO

Geoffrey Robinson
Upper Coromandel Landcare Association

Josie Gritten

Oliver Hoffmann

Leith Duncan

Reihana Robinson
Upper Coromandel Landcare Association

Audrey van Ryn

Jasmine Wilson
Strategic Change - Public Sector

Hugh O'Neill
Captain, Marine PIlot at Port Otago, Editor of "The Pilot" Magazine

Tom Appleton
Writer

Sam Pillsbury
PIilsbury Films Ltd, Pillsbury Wine Company

Anthony Opie

Abi King-Jones

Jim Hilton
Chairman Nga Kaitiaki Tuko Iho Inc

Gavin Fredericks

Bruce Hamill
Community Minister in Berhampore Social Housing Community

Lionel Nunns
Presbyterian Minister

Vincent Rowe

Jude Marshall

Irene Johnson
WILPF; Tamaki Treaty Workers

Murray Rae
Professor of Theology, University of Otago

Neil Scott
Founder - Letters For Palestine

Lisa Er

Kutumi Lefferts

Fern Mercier

Angela Fox
BDVA

Suzanne Loughlin
PhD Candidate, University of Auckland

Daimon Pitiroi

Jean Brookes
Rev

Diane Gilliam-Weeks

Sandra Winton
NZ Dominican Sisters

Nancy Earth

Wendy Pond
Manu Waiata Restoration & Protection Society Ltd

Viola Palmer
Quaker

Leo Hommel

Helen Doherty

Erica Hailstone
Quaker

Kalani Hiapo
Educator

David Pate
Whanganui Positive Activists

Taylo Ranby-Newman

Susan Barker

Toni Horrell

Aida Tavassoli

Sam Grimshaw

Dr Carl Bradley

Abigail Harris
Environmental Justice Ōtepoti

Leslie Bravery

Marian Bravery
Palestine Human Rights Campaign

Joan Klinkhamer

Kathryn Rogers
Rainbow Warrior

Fatemeh Kargahi
Retired

Ken Sparks

Danielle Delise
Resident of Hawaii

Amy Perruso
Representative, Hawaii State House of Representatives

Pania Solomon

Warwick Mather

Dr David Callahan

Michael Hamblett

Vera Vostinar

Gerard Hehir
National Secretary, Unite Union

Grace Taylor
Poet & Daughter of te moana nui a kiwa

Paul Schofield

Ivan Vostinar

Bruce Hopkins
Performer. Founder, Action Actors

Tepora Wi-Tipene
Ngāti Te Wehi, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata

Philip McFedries
Palestine Support Network Aotearoa

Roger Childs

Steve Abel
Activist, Musician, Green Party Candidate

Janet Salas

Helen Barr

Janet Salas

Tarsha Te Rure

Margaret Browne

Laurence Burrows

Cathy Angell

Rory Tait

Dr Peter R Wills

Paul Elwell-Sutton

Mr Peter Volker

Gerald Gehrke

Kim Lund

Dr Sylvia C Frain
The Everyday Peace Initiative

Robert J. Gregory

Margaret A Mackenzie-Hooson
Prof Emerita California College of the Arts

Peter Sheppard
Prof of Anthropology, Univ of Auckland

Jim Albertini

Malu Aina

Barry Craig
Retired museum anthropolgist

Marianne George

Federica Grassi

Dr Marie OSullivan
Former lecturer, public health

krissa wichers
concerned citizen of aotearoa

Wendy Lee
Social Development and Gender Consultant, Pacific Projects (Beca)

Mark Apperley
Professor of Computer Science, University of Waikato

Richard Jakob-Hoff
Wildlife Veterinarian

Dr Ann Appleton

Maren Behrend

Christopher McDonald

Theresa Arriola
PhD Candidate in Anthropology (UCLA)

Liz Remmerswaal
World Beyond War Aotearoa New Zealand

Kevin McBride
National Coordinator, Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand

Keith Murphy

Sam MacIntyre

Reen Mcmillan
Grandmother, peace lover, make NZ proud again

Paul Riley

David Edgarton

Bob Waters
Kiwi Call

Geoffrey Lye

Julian Baakman

Gary Chiles

Stevan Eldred-Grigg
Historian of NZ in the two world wars, author of The Great Wrong War, Phoney Wars

Gillian Bailey
Wellington Palestine

Mike Kolff

Dr Wei Yuen Loo
Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering, Unitec Institute of Technology

Jos Rivers

Luc Tutugoro
Trustee - "Coconut Free Press"

Edward Lakshman
... FREEDOM...

Paul Lunken.

Naawie Tutugoro
Tuākana (UOA)

Jonathan Selu
Chair, Love Life Fono Trust

Heather Denny
Co clerk Northern Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends in Aotearoa/ New Zealand (Quakers)

Peter Allison

John Richards
Koro

Thelma Karaitiana
Chair, Te Anaaroha Whanau Trust
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