By Tom Peters, Socialist Equality Group
July 11, 2020, original url: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/11/nzml-j11.html
The New Zealand Labor Party leadership, like its neighbor in Australia, increased military spending and recruitment as part of US-led preparations for the war against China, which has accelerated in response to the global economic crisis triggered by COVID-19. pandemic.
The US ruling class is determined that the impetus of war will be a means to reverse its economic decline and divert working class opposition to an unprecedented level of social inequality. The Trump administration, which is supported by Democrats, sees China as a major obstacle to US hegemony, and has asked its allies for support in increasing military power.
Ministers from Five Eyes countries – top-level intelligence sharing network that includes New Zealand, Australia, the US, Britain and Canada – issued a joint statement on June 24 pledging to “advance defense and security cooperation” to maintain “global orders the more challenged. “
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government, a coalition between the Labor Party, the Green Party and the right-wing New Zealand National Party, is committed to spending $ 20 billion on military upgrades.
This money was transferred to the military during the worst economic and social crisis since the Great Depression and at the expense of the working class. Unemployment is expected to exceed 10 percent and nothing is done to stop hundreds of thousands of people from falling into poverty. The health care system lacks resources, making this country very vulnerable in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19.
On June 26, the New Zealand Navy received a new fleet tanker, Aotearoa, which was built with a $ 500 million goal by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries. Aotearoa is the largest ship that has served in the Navy and can operate in the Pacific and Antarctica.
On July 8, Defense Minister Ron Mark, a member of NZ First, announced the purchase of 43 armored vehicles specifically designed for the army. Stuff noted that the Bushmaster vehicle was already being used by the elite Special Air Service (SAS) and other Five Eyes members.
The number of regular troops in the New Zealand army will increase from 4,500 to 6,000 by 2030. The Defense Force has reported a 21 percent increase in applications to register between March and May, compared to the same period last year, driven by heavy work. disadvantage among young people.
Significantly, Mark praised the $ 270 billion military expenditure program announced by the Australian government this month that included new long-range missiles. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has explained that this aims to prepare for war against China.
Morrison told the media that tensions between the US and China meant the world was in a dangerous period comparable to the 1930s and 1940s, namely the Second World War. He stressed that “all our defense forces and defense strategies are built on an alliance … with the United States.”
Defense Minister Mark New Zealand’s solidarity with this strategy, said Stuff: “What is good for Australia and Australia’s defense is ultimately good for New Zealand.” Canberra, he said, had shown “a clear commitment … to defend not only his own interests, but also for our Pacific partners, and the full realization of the challenges we all face.”
Mark added that he was “very pleased that the door was wide open for New Zealand’s defense industry players to tender” for an Australian military contract.
Mark and Morrison’s statement reveals the New Zealand government’s fake “humanitarian” fraud for military spending, including claims by the Green Party that new warships, aircraft and other military hardware are needed to provide assistance in disasters related to climate change.
In reality, the ruling elite of New Zealand is preparing to join what will become a catastrophic war involving nuclear armed forces. This has strengthened alliances with US imperialism, including by joining wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in return for Washington supporting New Zealand’s neo-colonial activities in the South Pacific.
In 2018, the Ardern government supported the US in labeling China and Russia the biggest “threat” to global stability. It also calls on Washington to send more military troops to the Pacific, to push back against China’s economic and diplomatic presence.
Parts of the media and academics, including supporters of the Labor Party and NZ First, have spent years trying to create a climate of war by igniting anti-Chinese sentiment.
These efforts have been intensified in recent weeks, with new attacks on opposition born in China, Member of the National Party Jian Jian. Under intense pressure, Yang announced on Friday that he would retire from politics after the September election, having previously said he would stand up.
Jamil Anderlini, editor of the Financial Times Asia, confirmed to TVNZ on June 28 that Yang was part of “the expansion of Chinese power into New Zealand.” This claim echoes the claims made by pro-US academics Anne-Marie Brady, without proof, that Yang is an agent of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The fascist group, Action Zealandia, also attacked Yang and accused the National Party of treason.
The key role in this campaign is played by the Daily Blog, which is supported by Unite and other unions. The blog organized a petition calling for Yang to be removed from parliament because, decades ago, he taught English at the Chinese military intelligence training academy.
Editor Martyn Bradbury wrote on July 7 that the National Party was “a front for Chinese business interests” and dangerous for “national security.” Referring to party leader Todd Muller as “Beijing Muller,” Bradbury rejected his statement that Yang left the CCP 26 years ago and was a loyal New Zealand citizen.
The Daily Blog, which reflects the bureaucratic unions of trade unionism, advocated New Zealand to become a “bulwark” with a large military and immigration ban.
The National Party represented parts of the bourgeoisie that supported the alliance with Washington but remained uneasy about the economic impact of alienating China, New Zealand’s largest trading partner. On the other hand, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, leader of NZ First and also foreign minister, called on New Zealand to reduce “dependence” on trade with China.
Peters announced on July 9 that New Zealand would join other Five Eyes countries in “reviewing” its involvement with Hong Kong after Beijing implemented a repressive “national security” law.
The NZ First Bloc, which has a long history of promoting anti-Asian xenophobia, with the Labor Party, the Green Party and trade unions, is based on the support of all these organizations for New Zealand imperialism. The wealth of the bourgeois layers and the upper middle class they represent depends, on the final analysis, on military alliances and financial ties with the US and Australia.
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