Strong outcome sought for NPT Review Conference

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Disarmament and Arms Control

Close on the heels of the Prime Minister's recent attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, New Zealand's top priority at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT) in New York next week will be to make concrete progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Disarmament Minister Georgina te Heuheu said today.  Mrs te Heuheu will lead New Zealand's delegation to the Conference.

"New Zealand has long maintained a principled and independent voice on nuclear issues.  The NPT Review Conference provides us with an opportunity to push towards a nuclear-weapon-free world," Mrs te Heuheu said.

The NPT is one of the most widely supported international treaties, with 187 signatories.  It is based on a deal between the five acknowledged nuclear-weapon states and virtually the rest of the international community.  The non-nuclear-weapon states agree not to acquire nuclear weapons in return for access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  Importantly the nuclear-weapon states undertake to work towards nuclear disarmament. 

"Forty years after its entry into force, the NPT stands at the heart of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime," Mrs te Heuheu said.

"At the Review Conference, New Zealand will be calling on the nuclear-weapon states to make good on their pledges to work towards the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals."

"At the same time we will be working hard to ensure that measures to stop the spread of nuclear weapons are supported and strengthened."

The NPT is evaluated by signatories every five years.  At the Review Conference, New Zealand will be working with its partners in the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa and Sweden) on advancing concrete disarmament steps.

At the same time, New Zealand will be coordinating a group of countries which promotes the adoption of measures to reduce the operational readiness of nuclear weapons.