NZ Ratifies Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

  • Don McKinnon
Disarmament and Arms Control

New Zealand has formally ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty with the presentation of the Instrument of Ratification by New Zealand's Permanent Representative at the United Nations on Friday 19 March (New York Time), Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Don McKinnon announced today.

The ratification follows enactment of the Nuclear-Test-Ban Act, which gives the treaty the full backing of law here.

Mr McKinnon said that, under the Treaty, New Zealand has been given a practical role in upholding the test ban.

"New Zealand scientists, the Government and communities are working together to establish and run monitoring stations here that will be an essential part of a world-wide network checking that no further nuclear tests take place.

"Rongotai MP Annette King participated in discussions with Chatham Islands authorities about the site of the two stations being set up there and acceptable arrangements have been agreed. The Government is grateful for Annette's assistance.

"The government is pleased to have ratified the Treaty, and is delighted that the test ban legislation had unanimous support in Parliament. This reflects the abhorrence New Zealanders feel about nuclear testing and our country's work over many decades to rid the world of this menace," Mr McKinnon said.

The Act, as required by the treaty, prohibits carrying out or participating in any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion. It extends those prohibitions to cover New Zealand citizens overseas, and any person on a New Zealand ship or aircraft. It builds on the Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act of 1987 through creating more specific offences in relation to nuclear testing.

Mr McKinnon said the priority for New Zealand and the international community was now to ensure the test ban treaty came into force as soon as possible. Already 152 countries have signed and 30 ratified, including 15 of those nations whose ratification is required to bring the treaty into force.

"We will be urging countries that have not yet ratified the treaty to do so without delay, and this includes India and Pakistan who have not even signed but have given some promising signals that they might do so soon.

"We'll also continue to make known our view that nuclear testing must never happen again. The sooner all countries become party to the test ban treaty, the better.

"New Zealand will keep pressing for more progress towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. There can be no doubts about New Zealand's commitment to a nuclear weapon-free world," Mr McKinnon said.