Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Issue 8. April 1976]
Foreign Interests Exposé — C.A.F.C.I.N.Z. Seminar/AGM, Christchurch, Easter 1976
Foreign Interests Exposé
C.A.F.C.I.N.Z. Seminar/AGM, Christchurch, Easter 1976.
The Campaign Against Foreign Control in New Zealand (Cafcinz), at it's AGM held in Christchurch, adopted major policy priorities for research and action in the coming year.
The Seminar/AGM was held over two days, the first day being devoted completely to a seminar and the second to the A. G.M.
A wide range of speakers was assembled starting with Wolfgang Rosenberg (reader in Economics at Canterbury, and author of books on the New Zealand economy). He spoke on the extent of foreign domination of New Zealand's economy.
Following this were reports from research leaders in specific C.A.F.C.I.N.Z. projects - Mt Davy coal, the Fiordland Red Hills and Comalco.
The afternoon was devoted to Alister Taylor (noted publisher and campaigner against the CIA/SIS) followed by Owen Wilkes, who presented his latest research on the long term implications of New Zealand's present nuclear policies. He gave details of the present trends in New Zealand's Armed Services training, noting the shift from subversive guerilla jungle warfare to open desert-type army manoeuvres in the lake Tekapo area, which is now being used more frequently than before (It may be relevant to note that the Australian Army have also started large scale manoeuvres on the North West Australian coast lines practising invasion landings etc.).
Bill Rosenberg delivered a summary of the Mt Davy Coal issue, and made the observation that the coal could only be worked for about 15 years leaving about two thirds in the ground. There was also the definite possibility that the mining company might well "find" more minerals and offer to prevent the politically- undesirable effects of a large scale industry closing down.
There is also the likelihood that a number of the skilled workers who would be required, may not be available on the West Coast. (A similar situation has developed with Comalco with most of the Administrative staff being from Australia.).
Peter Lusk had been working on the Red Hills asbestos deposits and' noted that it's promoters hasten to point out that it is not the "asbestosis" (a form of lung cancer that is extremely difficult to cure) inducing variety (although Ralph Nader in the USA points out that white asbestos is still highly dangerous).
It is proposed to open-cast mine the complete deposit because asbestos occurs in layers of upright fibres usually only ¾ inch in length. The scheme calls for the removal, crushing and placing elsewhere of a complete mountain. (Where does one put a complete mountain in the middle of Fiordland?).
Comalco, as presented by John Christie, has been reported at length elsewhere. The only significant point to date is that with a shrinking world demand for aluminium, Comalco, which has as it's controlling partners some of the world's largest producers of aluminium, is increasing its Tiwai Point (Bluff) smelter's capacity by a further 40%.
By mid-year it will require about 20% of the country's electrical energy (and the bottom is almost sure to fall out of the second-hand heater market!).
Alister Tayler presented an illuminating presentation on the role of the CIA/SIS activities in New Zealand. His talk went on to show that far from being separated from the struggle in which C.A.F.C.I.N.Z. is involved, the Campaign to oppose the S.I.S. is closely related.
Owen Wilkes who was an important part of the C.A.F.M.A.N.Z. (Campaign against foreign military bases in New Zealand, parent of the organisation that is now know as C.A.F.C.I.N.Z.) gave an .'informative talk on the possible involvement by New Zealand in some future global conflict. He pointed out that in event of complete exclusion of the U.S. from their bases in Thailand later this year, New Zealand and Australia would be the most likely supply route to sustain any operations last year and Portugal's reluctance to allow the U.S. to use it's airfields as refueling points).
On the subject of Omega, it was C.A.E.C.I.N.Z.'s initial research that blew it's cover causing it to be shifted to Australia. It also took the removal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, to allow it to proceed there as well.
The research that was done in New Zealand was also responsible for the project being the subject of a Royal Inquiry in Norway, resulting in it's likely rejection there as well.
The following A.G.M. was unfortunately closed to the press and therefore the proceedings will have to remain unreported until some later date when appropriate press statements will be issued.