New Zealand presses for concrete nuclear disarmament progress

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Disarmament and Arms Control

Disarmament Minister Georgina te Heuheu today called on the 189 countries assembled for the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York to seize on this historic opportunity to make progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

"The issues at the heart of the Treaty are of a global nature.  We are all impacted by the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  We would all suffer the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war," Mrs te Heuheu said.

Mrs te Heuheu told the Conference that nuclear disarmament was an issue that all New Zealanders felt passionate about, and she paid tribute to the role of civil society in pushing for a world without nuclear weapons.

In her statement, Mrs te Heuheu called for the adoption of concrete, practical steps that would lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons. 

Mrs te Heuheu later spoke again on behalf of a group of countries (Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria, New Zealand and Switzerland) calling for action to address the significant number of nuclear weapons that still exist today on high alert.

Mrs te Heuheu said steps must be taken to lengthen the decision-making ‘fuse'.

"Lowered alert levels would represent an important interim step towards the vision of a nuclear-weapons-free world.  This would be another sign of commitment to a diminishing role for nuclear weapons". 

New Zealand has been closely associated with the issue of lowering the operational readiness of nuclear weapons since it led work on a resolution at the UN in 2007.  That resolution was supported by an overwhelming majority of states.

The Minister's two statements can be found at:

http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/statements/pdf/newzealand_en.pdf

http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/statements/pdf/newzealandonbehalf_en.pdf