Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 9. 1st May 1974
NZ student action on international front
NZ student action on international front
In past years, international affairs activities in New Zealand universities have been mainly concerned with the issues of the Indochina War and Southern Africa. These issues now appear in many people's eyes to be diminishing in importance, as a result of the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement in January 1973, and as a result of the cancellation of the Springbok Rugby Tour, by the Labour Government in April 1973. But we should not be deluded into thinking that these problems have in any way been solved by these actions.
In the field of action against apartheid, the main thrust of the anti-apartheid movement at the present time is towards the severance of trade and other economic relations with the white minority regimes in South Africa and Rhodesia. Late last year, campaigns were mounted, under the guidance of NZUSA and the National Anti-Apartheid Committee to encourage two insurance companies, NZI and South British, to withdraw their operations from Southern Africa. With the limited numbers of shares which were owned by the campaigners, or for which they could obtain proxies, it was not possible to get the appropriate motions passed at the Annual General Meetings, but the issues were at least raised, and the general educational programme did have some impact.
The next step in the campaigns against these two insurance companies is for the anti-apartheid campaigners to get themselves organised so that they are able to call general meetings of the companies virtually whenever they wish to. The necessary conditions, in terms of the articles of association of the companies, for this to be possible, is to be able to get together either 100 shareholders, or else 10% of the share capital. To make things more difficult in this respect, the insurance companies have made rules whereby they can refuse to accept share transfers where fewer than 50 shares are involved. So what is needed now are people who are able to buy such parcels of shares in these companies; at current prices, 50 shares in NZI or South British would cost about $170. If you have such a sum of money sitting unused in a savings account, here is an excellent opportunity to put it to good use. But when you do buy shares in one of these companies, or if you have some at present which you can use, please inform the International Affairs Officer, Vivienne Zethoven, or else contact the International Vice President of NZUSA, Alick Shaw.
For future action on the economic front against South Africa, investigations are being made into other companies which carry on trading relations with South Africa. It is very likely that one or more of the other companies which trade with South Africa will be selected for a campaign similar to those being waged against South British and NZI. But there are other organisations which are also involved in trading relations with South Africa — for example, the Dairy Board, and the International Wool Secretariat. All of these would make potentia targets for trade campaigns, but further information will probably be available in the near future.
Something rather more definite can be offered to students for activity in support of the liberation movements which are working against the white minority regimes in Southern Africa. And this "something" is something which can be supported by anyone. NZUSA has committed itself to raising funds for a refugee camp in Southern Zambia for ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union).
In view of the recent controversy over the donation of money by the World Council of Churches to African Liberation movements, it is appropriate to make the destination of the funds raised very clear. Apart from the fact that people would be able to see quite plainly whether or not a refugee camp was being built, it is just not sensible for the $10,000 or so raised by NZUSA to go on armaments used in modern warfare, and of the type used by guerillas in Rhodesia, such a sum of money would be quite useless.
Early in the second term, then, there will be tickets arriving for the raffle which is the means by which the fund-raising is to be done. The first prize in the raffle will be a Fiat 127 car and there will be other lesser prizes also. If you are able to help in the selling of the raffle tickets, your help would be appreciated — please contact International Affairs Officer Vivienne Zethoven. Otherwise please buy one or more raffle tickets when they are offered to you.
The main activities to be carried on at the present time related to the continuing struggle in Indochina are attempts to change the attitudes of the New Zealand Government. The particular demands which are being made are to exhort the government to implement the Paris Peace Agreement.
At the moment there are many people writing letters to the Prime Minister about the continued holding of political prisoners by the Thieu regime. It is apparent that what the foreign affairs department knows on this issue is considerably less than is known by various people who work for such groups as RAVPOC.
Another campaign is to be mounted for the cessation of all aid to the Thieu government, on the grounds that it is contrary to the spirit of the Paris agreement to funnel aid through the Thieu government while refusing to even recognise the PRG. Moreover, all aid, even humanitarian aid, that goes to South Vietnam through the Thieu government serves to prop up that government, which is at the moment dependent on continuing inflows of aid from outside. Humanitarian aid to the Thieu government allows it to evade its responsibilities to provide for its own people.