New Zealand

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

SIGNED

20 September 2017

RATIFIED

31 July 2018

IN FORCE

22 January 2021

 

Status

New Zealand has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). 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 TPNW at a high-level ceremony in New York 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 TPNW. Its ratification applies also to the dependent territory of Tokelau.

Craig Hawke, the permanent representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, signs the TPNW in 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 TPNW and issued a report in June 2018 supporting the ratification. The committee received 25 public submissions, of which “virtually all expressed strong support”.

In a statement to the United Nations in October 2021, New Zealand said that the TPNW’s entry into force had “injected some momentum into nuclear disarmament efforts”, adding: “New Zealand is proud to be a TPNW state party – one of ten from the Pacific, a region free of nuclear weapons, but with nuclear legacy issues to be overcome.”

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

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the TPNW, 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.

Per Article 12, New Zealand has promoted universal adherence to the TPNW, 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 April 2022, she said that “New Zealand continues to stand against nuclear weapons and encourages all states to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”, adding: “It is a fundamental mistake to believe nuclear weapons can ever make the world a safer place for us or our children and grandchildren.”

In December 2018, New Zealand hosted a regional conference to encourage Pacific island states to become parties to the TPNW. 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 TPNW as “a significant first step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons”.

New Zealand hosted a similar conference with Pacific island states in December 2021, albeit in virtual format, with the aims of preparing for the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW in 2022 and promoting universal adherence.

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

New Zealand hosts a virtual conference with Pacific island states in December 2021 to prepare for the first meeting of states parties. Photo: NZ MFAT

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

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

 

TPNW negotiations

New Zealand participated in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption. It served as a vice-president of the bureau.

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 TPNW 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 TPNW negotiations in 2017.

 

Before the negotiations

Prior to the adoption of the TPNW 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

IN FORCE

22 January 2021

 

Status

New Zealand has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). 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 TPNW at a high-level ceremony in New York 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 TPNW. Its ratification applies also to the dependent territory of Tokelau.

Craig Hawke, the permanent representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, signs the TPNW in 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 TPNW and issued a report in June 2018 supporting the ratification. The committee received 25 public submissions, of which “virtually all expressed strong support”.

In a statement to the United Nations in October 2021, New Zealand said that the TPNW’s entry into force had “injected some momentum into nuclear disarmament efforts”, adding: “New Zealand is proud to be a TPNW state party – one of ten from the Pacific, a region free of nuclear weapons, but with nuclear legacy issues to be overcome.”

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

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the TPNW, 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.

Per Article 12, New Zealand has promoted universal adherence to the TPNW, 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 April 2022, she said that “New Zealand continues to stand against nuclear weapons and encourages all states to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”, adding: “It is a fundamental mistake to believe nuclear weapons can ever make the world a safer place for us or our children and grandchildren.”

In December 2018, New Zealand hosted a regional conference to encourage Pacific island states to become parties to the TPNW. 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 TPNW as “a significant first step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons”.

New Zealand hosted a similar conference with Pacific island states in December 2021, albeit in virtual format, with the aims of preparing for the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW in 2022 and promoting universal adherence.

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

New Zealand hosts a virtual conference with Pacific island states in December 2021 to prepare for the first meeting of states parties. Photo: NZ MFAT

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

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

 

TPNW negotiations

New Zealand participated in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption. It served as a vice-president of the bureau.

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 TPNW 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 TPNW negotiations in 2017.

 

Before the negotiations

Prior to the adoption of the TPNW 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]