Greens announce Members Bill to stop military launches at Rocket Lab protest

The Green Party’s Security and Intelligence spokesperson, and Te Mātāwaka member Teanau Tuiono MP launched his Member’s Bill at the ‘STOP militarisation’ protest today outside RocketLabs Headquarters in Tāmaki Makaurau.

This Bill will amend the Outer Space and High altitude Activities Act and prohibit the launching of military hardware into space from Aotearoa New Zealand. 

“This change would ensure that Aotearoa New Zealand’s space industry and its facilities could never be used by military actors to launch weaponry, establishing in legislation an enduring commitment to peaceful conduct in outer space”, says Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono.

“The Government has a responsibility to make sure technologies sent into orbit from New Zealand soil do not assist other countries' armies to wage war. 

“Unfortunately our outer space legislation has so many gaps and grey areas foreign military powers are literally launching rockets through it.

“Currently the Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act allows the minister to veto a satellite if it is not in the national interest. However launches from Mahia have carried at least 13 payloads for US military or intelligence agencies. 

“They range from US Special Operations Command, which conducts covert operations around the world, to the launch of Gunsmoke-J in March this year on behalf of the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command which was designed to improve US missile targeting capabilities during combat.

“We are also very conscious of the impact successive rocket launches have on the whenua and moana of Mahia. 

“When we visited Mahia the whānau told us about the absence of local birds and kaimoana and we continue to support the call from whānau for independent cultural and environmental impact assessments.

“Ko ngā whakaaro nui e rere ana ki te hapū nā rātau, mātau i manaaki, i tiaki ki a Ngāi Tū, Otirā nā te nohonga o te kuia a Pauline Tangiora ki waenga tonu i ngā kōrero i mahana ai te puna aroha”.

 

Examples of Military Launches include:

Launch date

Mission name

Relevant payload

23 Mar 2021

They go up so fast

Gunsmoke-J: “TriSept procured the rideshare slot on Electron for the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command

(SMDC). Gunsmoke-J is an experimental 3U CubeSat

that will test technologies that support development

of new capabilities for the U.S Army.”

13 Jun 2020

Don’t stop me now

Three payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO): “Don’t Stop Me Now also carries three payloads designed, built and operated by the NRO under the Rapid

Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract vehicle. RASR allows the NRO to explore new launch

opportunities that provide a streamlined, commercial approach for getting small satellites into space.”

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