New Zealand

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 31 July 2018

 

Summary

New Zealand has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It was among the original 50 states parties to the treaty when it entered into force on 22 January 2021.

 

Signature and ratification

Craig Hawke, the permanent representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, signed the treaty when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017. He deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 31 July 2018.

New Zealand was the 14th state to ratify or accede to the treaty. Its ratification applies also to the dependent territory of Tokelau.

Craig Hawke, the permanent representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, signs the treaty in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

Following a decision by the cabinet of New Zealand on 14 May 2018 to approve the ratification, the then-minister of foreign affairs, Winston Peters, remarked: “Joining the treaty is a logical step for New Zealand given our long-standing policy opposing nuclear weapons.”

The foreign affairs, defence, and trade committee of New Zealand’s parliament examined the treaty and issued a report in June 2018 supporting the ratification. The committee received 25 public submissions, of which “virtually all expressed strong support”.

Hawke deposits the country’s instrument of ratification on 31 July 2018. Photo: UNOLA

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the treaty, New Zealand submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 18 January 2021 confirming that it does not own, possess, or control nuclear weapons, has never done so, and does not host any other state’s nuclear weapons on its territory.

New Zealand has promoted universal adherence to the treaty, including by co-sponsoring and consistently voting in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

In a video message in August 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, “urge[d] all others to join with us in ratifying this landmark treaty as a necessary step towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”.

In December 2018, New Zealand hosted a regional conference to encourage Pacific island states to become parties to the treaty. Delegations representing 12 states from the region participated in the conference and adopted a statement acknowledging “the need to expedite the treaty’s entry into force”.

Peters delivered an opening address to the conference, commenting that “we see the nuclear weapon prohibition treaty as the global version of our [South Pacific] nuclear-free zone”. In a video message, Ardern described the treaty as “a significant first step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons”.

Delegates from across the Pacific meet in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2018 for a regional conference to discuss the treaty. Photo: PEACInstitute

New Zealand has also worked in partnership with Thailand to encourage members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to become parties to the treaty.

In a statement to the United Nations in October 2019, New Zealand described the treaty as “the most ambitious legal pathway currently available to advance nuclear disarmament”.

 

Treaty negotiations

New Zealand participated in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption.

In its opening statement to the negotiating conference, New Zealand remarked that, “in the short term at least, there will be limits to the reach and normative influence of our treaty”, but this was the case also for the early efforts to proscribe chemical and biological weapons, it noted.

In 2016, New Zealand co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

Dell Higgie, New Zealand’s disarmament ambassador, delivers a statement during the treaty negotiations in New York in June 2017. Photo: ICAN

Government officials and civil society representatives from New Zealand pose with a banner during the final stages of the treaty negotiations in 2017.

 

Before the negotiations

Prior to the adoption of the treaty in 2017, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive, globally applicable treaty prohibition. New Zealand supported calls in the UN General Assembly fill this “legal gap”.

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 31 July 2018

 

Summary

New Zealand has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It was among the original 50 states parties to the treaty when it entered into force on 22 January 2021.

 

Signature and ratification

Craig Hawke, the permanent representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, signed the treaty when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017. He deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 31 July 2018.

New Zealand was the 14th state to ratify or accede to the treaty. Its ratification applies also to the dependent territory of Tokelau.

Craig Hawke, the permanent representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, signs the treaty in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

Following a decision by the cabinet of New Zealand on 14 May 2018 to approve the ratification, the then-minister of foreign affairs, Winston Peters, remarked: “Joining the treaty is a logical step for New Zealand given our long-standing policy opposing nuclear weapons.”

The foreign affairs, defence, and trade committee of New Zealand’s parliament examined the treaty and issued a report in June 2018 supporting the ratification. The committee received 25 public submissions, of which “virtually all expressed strong support”.

Hawke deposits the country’s instrument of ratification on 31 July 2018. Photo: UNOLA

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the treaty, New Zealand submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 18 January 2021 confirming that it does not own, possess, or control nuclear weapons, has never done so, and does not host any other state’s nuclear weapons on its territory.

New Zealand has promoted universal adherence to the treaty, including by co-sponsoring and consistently voting in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

In a video message in August 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, “urge[d] all others to join with us in ratifying this landmark treaty as a necessary step towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”.

In December 2018, New Zealand hosted a regional conference to encourage Pacific island states to become parties to the treaty. Delegations representing 12 states from the region participated in the conference and adopted a statement acknowledging “the need to expedite the treaty’s entry into force”.

Peters delivered an opening address to the conference, commenting that “we see the nuclear weapon prohibition treaty as the global version of our [South Pacific] nuclear-free zone”. In a video message, Ardern described the treaty as “a significant first step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons”.

Delegates from across the Pacific meet in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2018 for a regional conference to discuss the treaty. Photo: PEACInstitute

New Zealand has also worked in partnership with Thailand to encourage members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to become parties to the treaty.

In a statement to the United Nations in October 2019, New Zealand described the treaty as “the most ambitious legal pathway currently available to advance nuclear disarmament”.

 

Treaty negotiations

New Zealand participated in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption.

In its opening statement to the negotiating conference, New Zealand remarked that, “in the short term at least, there will be limits to the reach and normative influence of our treaty”, but this was the case also for the early efforts to proscribe chemical and biological weapons, it noted.

In 2016, New Zealand co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

Dell Higgie, New Zealand’s disarmament ambassador, delivers a statement during the treaty negotiations in New York in June 2017. Photo: ICAN

Government officials and civil society representatives from New Zealand pose with a banner during the final stages of the treaty negotiations in 2017.

 

Before the negotiations

Prior to the adoption of the treaty in 2017, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive, globally applicable treaty prohibition. New Zealand supported calls in the UN General Assembly fill this “legal gap”.

[PARTNERS]

Ban All Nukes Generation (New Zealand)

website


Disarmament and Security Centre 

website


iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand 

website


Hamilton City Council 

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War 

Peace Foundation 

website


Peace Movement Aotearoa 

website


United Nations Association of New Zealand 

website

[LOCALSUPPORT]

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  • Ban All Nukes Generation (New Zealand)

    website

  • Disarmament and Security Centre 

    website

  • iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand 

    website

  • Hamilton City Council 
  • International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War 
  • Peace Foundation 

    website

  • Peace Movement Aotearoa 

    website

  • United Nations Association of New Zealand 

    website