Protesters to take on defence forum

  • 17/11/2015
Defence Force cadets (File)
Defence Force cadets (File)

When you bring some of the world's biggest weapon manufacturers together for a public meeting protesters are sure to follow.

Close to 200 defence-related companies will be getting together with Government and Defence Force officials when the annual Defence Industry Association Forum kicks off in Wellington today.

The visitors include the likes of international defence and technology giants such as sponsor Lockheed Martin.

But protest group Peace Action Wellington said it would be forming a "non-violent community blockade" at the entrance of the forum to try to keep attendants out.

Member Valerie Morse said the group would be actively trying to shut the meeting down by confronting visitors.

"These companies are not simply neutral bystanders selling a product - they actively lobby governments to go to war," she said.

"We believe that war profiteers must be confronted, and their activities impeded through community non-violent direct action."

But Defence Industry Association chair Bernie Diver said the meeting wasn't just about weapons and an important part of the economy.

"NZ Defence expenditure is approximately 2500 full time jobs, generating a conservative $125 million in wages and $60 million in profits," he said.

"Companies from apparel to food service, property and facilities management through to personal safety and protection equipment are represented."

The forum is now in its 18th year and runs for two days.

NZN