Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Our national airline should not be complicit in war crimes

Since 2015 Saudi Arabia has been waging war on the people of Yemen. A key part of their war is a naval blockade, which has restricted food supplies, leading to the worst famine in a century. Its a war crime - and our national airline is helping them do it:

A 1 NEWS investigation has revealed that Air New Zealand's business unit, Gas Turbines, which specialises in servicing military marine engines and turbines, has been supporting the Saudi Navy.

The Saudi Navy has been blockading Yemen - stopping food and medicine getting through to the country.


Last week [Air New Zealand] finally issued a short statement saying Air New Zealand Gas Turbines had been carrying out work for the Saudi Navy through a third party contract.

"It is through a third party contract that work has recently been carried out on two engines and one power turbine module from vessels belonging to the Royal Saudi Navy.

"The Gas Turbines business has not contracted directly with the Royal Saudi Navy and will not be carrying out any further work of this nature."

While its good that they've stopped, this isn't good enough. It shouldn't need to be said, but: corporations should not help governments commit war crimes. And that especially goes for our part government-owned airline. We bailed them out to help them get through Covid. That's now looking like a mistake. At the least, it looks like the government should just make a formal takeover and bring Air New Zealand back under full public control. Because we clearly cannot trust the values of the private sector for our national airline.