New Zealand company Rakon refuses to rule out products being incorporated into weapons used by Israel

  • 28/05/2024

New Zealand electronics manufacturer Rakon is refusing to rule out whether any of its products are used in weapons used by Israel in its attacks on Gaza.    

It comes as the company faces increased pressure from pro-Palestine protesters who are gathering outside its Auckland office on Tuesday.    

When asked whether it could rule out any of its products being used by Israel, a Rakon spokesperson referred Newshub to a statement that said the company is "not aware" of any of its products being used in weapons that are supplied to Israel.    

"Rakon does not design or manufacture weapons. We do not supply products to Israel for weapons, and we are not aware of our products being incorporated into weapons which are provided to Israel," the statement said.    

It comes on day 10 of former Shortland Street actor Will Alexander's hunger strike in protest over the Israel-Gaza war.   

Alexander made three demands when announcing his hunger strike including withdrawing New Zealand troops from the Red Sea, stopping Rakon from supplying components for weapons used by Israel and resuming and then doubling humanitarian funding for UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency).      

Alexander and Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa National Chair John Minto are gathering with other protesters outside Rakon's Auckland office on Tuesday afternoon.    

PSNA said the protest comes after Rakon pulled out of a meeting with the group.    

"A week ago Rakon approached PSNA to suggest a meeting to discuss our concerns about their involvement in weapons being used to slaughter Palestinians in Gaza," Minto said in a statement.   

"We accepted and agreed to meet but now Rakon has backed away saying, 'There is no longer the basis for a good faith discussion' because we have continued to raise concerns about Rakon publicly.   

"The most important point here is that Rakon has never denied any of our claims. It is donkey-deep in supplying crucial components for the US-guided munitions industry whose products are being used in Israel's genocidal slaughter in Gaza."   

The protest also comes a day after PSNA wrote to the Government calling for it to suspend military-capable exports from Rakon pending an independent investigation into their use by Israel.   

The organisation claims the company sends crystal oscillators, which are used in the guidance systems of smart bombs, to US arms manufacturers who then in turn create bombs "which inevitably end up in Israel's genocidal attacks on Gaza".    

In a statement, Rakon said crystal oscillators are "very common commercial electronic components".   

"Rakon's products are used in a wide range of applications in many different industries and market sectors including telecommunications, space and defence, and positioning. For our customers in the defence sector, product applications can include radar, communications, positioning and navigation.   

"Our Trade Compliance Policy conforms with New Zealand Government regulations and sets out customer due diligence requirements for customers involved in the defence sector. Rakon policy also states we will not sell products which could be used in weapons of mass destruction (or their means of delivery), or in cluster munitions or for terrorist activity," the company said.   

The Prime Minister, meanwhile, has repeatedly defended the Government's response to the war.   

"I think we have been incredibly sensible and constructive, and we've actually been calling for peace in that situation for some time," Christopher Luxon told AM previously.    

The Prime Minister said the Government has been calling for a ceasefire for months along with calling on Hamas to release hostages and calling on Israel to adhere to international law and open up access to aid.   

"We've also lifted our own humanitarian assistance by $17 million beyond the UNRWA $1 million that we typically donate each year and that has been to the Red Cross and the world food programmes.     

"We've also been calling for peace and stability in the region and we supported the Palestinian State having enhanced participation in the United Nations just a couple of weekends ago."    

Luxon said he thinks New Zealand has been "very consistent in our position".     

But PSNA accused the Government of "muddying the water" by saying New Zealand does not export arms to Israel.   

"Exporting parts for guided munitions and JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) bombs which end up in the killing fields of Gaza means we are actively supporting Israel's genocide," Minto claimed.