New Zealand

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has signed the TPNW

Has ratified the TPNW

New Zealand has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

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

New Zealand participated in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and voted in favour of its adoption.


Following a decision by the cabinet of New Zealand on 14 May 2018 to approve ratification, the 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 the New Zealand parliament examined the treaty and issued a report in June 2018 supporting ratification. The committee received 25 public submissions, of which “virtually all expressed strong support”. 

New Zealand has promoted universal adherence to the treaty, including by co-sponsoring a UN General Assembly resolution in 2019 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

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

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 to the conference, Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, described the treaty as “a significant first step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons”.

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 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 was a co-sponsor of the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence the negotiations in 2017 on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

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”.

New Zealand is a state party to the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga, which established the South Pacific as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.


Find a local ICAN partner to get active Become an ICAN Partner Organization ›

  • 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

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There are currently no elected representatives or local or regional bodies in this country committed to supporting the TPNW through the ICAN Cities Appeal or ICAN Parliamentary Pledge. Find out what you can do to support the TPNW in this country.