What is the New Zealand Defence Industry Association forum?
Wellington's annual "weapons expo" has been blockaded by protesters for much of Tuesday – but what exactly are they fighting against?
Nine protesters were arrested during fraught scenes outside the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) forum being held at Westpac Stadium.
Protesters blocked every entrance into the stadium early on Tuesday in an attempt to stop the forum. As each busload of delegates arrived, police blocked off the out-of-city lanes of Waterloo and Aotea Quay and, at one point, scuffling protesters and police broke into the traffic.
The forum, which has been dubbed a "weapons expo" by protesters, has been staged almost exclusively in Wellington for about 20 years, but has become mired in controversy over recent years.
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NZDIA deputy chairman Andrew Ford has said labelling the forum a "weapons expo" is "stretching the truth", and the event is mainly about bringing together suppliers of services and products to support the defence and national security sectors.
In 2015 the normally under-the-radar conference came under scrutiny when police made mass arrests of protesters when it was held at the Wellington City Council-controlled TSB Arena.
Most of the activists were arrested on trespassing charges, which were dropped earlier this year after a lengthy court battle with police.
The next year the conference was held in Auckland, but returned to the capital this year.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, under pressure from activists, agreed the forum should not return to any council sites. It is being held at Westpac Stadium, because that venue is not under direct council control.
Lester said the expo, the main sponsor of which was nuclear weapons, aviation and arms giant Lockheed Martin, was "not an appropriate event for a civic venue". The council wanted to steer clear of any associated conflict.
Before the 2015 forum, former United States intelligence adviser Paul Buchanan told Stuff that anyone with basic human intelligence-gathering skills would know arms industry forums were "absolute goldmines".
Buchanan said it would be no surprise to have representatives from not just the private intelligence sector, but the intelligence community itself.
"There will be foreigners there. I would not be surprised if there were representatives from the Chinese embassy. Maybe we'll see the US military attache show up. It will be an interesting who's who."
Ford said the forum brought together government and defence force buyers with arms, cybersecurity and military procurement manufacturers. He believed most people would support defence forces being properly equipped to defend themselves and fulfil their peacekeeping duties.
This year's forum has more than 500 delegates from about 150 organisations, including the Ministry of Defence, New Zealand Defence Force and other government agencies responsible for national security.
In a recent statement, Ford said the 2017 forum was themed around "emerging technologies and cybersecurity capabilities supporting national security agencies".
Advances in simulation, unmanned aerial vehicles, and "next-generation platforms" would be discussed.
"Cyber is the new warfare domain across the full spectrum of national security agencies and, as a result, industry has a huge part to play in delivering solutions to a wider range of agencies," he said.
Alongside a "small number" of weapons exhibitors, there was also clothing, food services, property and facilities management, personal safety and protection equipment. The main sectors represented were maintenance repair, overhaul logistics, "professional advisory services", information communication technology, and engineering.