Climate and peace groups call for military funding to be redirected to tackling the climate crisis

Climate justice and peace groups are opposing the military’s use of the climate crisis to seek more money in the 2022 budget, and have today launched an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for military funds to be diverted to tackling the climate crisis. It is endorsed by thirteen groups including 350 Aotearoa, Oxfam Aotearoa, Coal Action Network Aotearoa and Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa NZ. It remains open for endorsement until the 31st of March. 

“In the 2021 Budget over $5 billion was budgeted for the Armed Forces on top of the $20 billion already earmarked for capital investment in equipment including Poseidon warplanes capable of bombing submarines and new patrol boats. This is in stark contrast with attempts to tackle climate change. The fund for decarbonising the entire public service, for example, was $219 million,” said James Barber, author of the open letter. 

“We are appalled at the government spending tens of billions of dollars on military equipment. This money needs to be used to fully fund programmes to reduce emissions creating a low energy and fair society as well as increasing aid to our Pacific neighbours who are living with the climate crisis every day. We’ve just seen the devastating effects of flooding after a heatwave all around Aotearoa. It is vital that action is taken now and that communities have support to transition to both tackle the climate crisis but to also live with the effects. This is way more important than the latest military upgrades for naval vessels.

“Our Pacific neighbours are on the frontlines of the climate crisis right now. They are also on the frontlines of increased military tensions between the US and China. New Zealand should be leading the work on a nuclear-free, weapons-free and climate resilient region. We need to provide aid and possibly even find mutually agreed upon resettlement programmes. War planes designed to bomb submarines are not part of this solution. While the Armed Forces have played a key role in responding to natural disasters, such as the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga, this was done by our current aircraft and boats, not the expensive new combat craft and upgrades. 

Pacific communities have been calling for.us to take meaningful action on the climate crisis. We need a proactive strategy in the Pacific: a proactive strategy to ban oil, gas and coal, and a planned transition to a flourishing, fair and low energy society. We also need to be a voice for peace in the Pacific, helping to coordinate aid for our neighbours on the front lines of the climate crisis and push against the idea of armed conflict in the region. That is how we will weather these ‘rough seas’.”
The open letter remains open for endorsements until the 31st of March. The full open letter can be viewed here and to endorse please email climatecrisisnowaotearoa@gmail.com