Hon Helen Clark
Network for Nuclear Disarmament Forum
Wednesday 8 December 2004
you for the invitation to give the opening address at
this forum: Parliamentarians, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty and Nuclear Weapon Free Zones.
worldwide have made a huge contribution to the cause
of nuclear disarmament - and I especially commend the
role played over the years by Parliamentarians for Global
Action and now by the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear
work helps build support and momentum within governments
for nuclear disarmament initiatives, such as the Nuclear
Weapon Free Southern Hemisphere Initiative and the work
of the New Agenda grouping of nations.
also welcome you to New Zealand, a country that has
long taken an active approach to disarmament issues.
Zealand's goal is to see the complete, verifiable, and
irreversible elimination of weapons of mass destruction.
This is a deeply held, long term, and consistent
foreign policy priority.
am told that New Zealand is the only country in the
world with a Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control,
Marian Hobbs, who will address you later this morning.
conventional security terms, New Zealand is favoured
by its geography, situated in the South Pacific, surrounded
by a large ocean and friendly neighbours, and remote
from the world's major conflicts. Our region
does have its tensions, but it is fair to say that the
proliferation of small arms in parts of the Pacific
would raise more concerns locally than nuclear proliferation.
a remote location would not insulate a nation
from the effects of nuclear war. Indeed, had
nuclear war ever broken out between the major powers,
our way of life too would have been altered forever.
That was a powerful motivation for our small
country to add its voice to the call for the elimination
of nuclear weapons.
Zealand's nuclear disarmament commitment
Zealand's advocacy for nuclear disarmament dates back
the height of the Cold War, in 1958, Prime Minister,
Rt Hon Walter Nash, in his statement to the United
Nations in New York, called for the negotiation of a
multilateral treaty to ban nuclear testing. In
1959, New Zealand stood apart from its ANZUS partners
to support UN resolutions calling for a treaty banning
nuclear tests. New Zealand was among the first
signatories of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty concluded
stance on nuclear disarmament became synonymous with
New Zealand's forging of an independent foreign policy.
A new direction developed, placing issues
like disarmament, human rights, and engagement in peace-keeping
at the forefront of foreign policy, rather than as an
afterthought. New Zealanders overall have taken
pride in seeing their country's foreign policy express
their values and our country's pride in its independence
key part nuclear disarmament plays in New Zealand's
foreign policy is consistent with our wider commitment
to multilateral diplomacy, from our early involvement
in the establishment of the United Nations, to our continuing
support for a rules-based international order.
Zealand is also part of the Asia-Pacific; the region
which has experienced the only use of nuclear weapons
in war, 59 years ago in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and
which has been a nuclear weapons test zone for major
powers. At the United Nations in 1963,
the New Zealand representative Alistair McIntosh spoke
eloquently on behalf of the region as "we who have seen
the awesome glow in the sky", expressing once again
the region's intense opposition to nuclear tests.
2001, I visited Hiroshima in Japan for the first time.
After laying a wreath in the peace park, I visited
the museum. Like everyone interested in nuclear
issues I knew a great deal about what had transpired
in Hiroshima in 1945. But that could not prevent
the shock I felt from seeing the exhibits – the
charred bicycle of a child, the fragments of a sandal
found by a mother, and those terrible photos.
As I left, I wrote in the visitors' book, "this
must never happen again".
the 1960s, New Zealand civil society's concern about
the nuclear testing in the Pacific became more
evident. By the 1970s New Zealand was moved to
speak out strongly against nuclear testing in the Pacific.
A Royal New Zealand Navy vessel was sent to the
vicinity of the test zone in French Polynesia in 1973,
and again in 1995 when testing resumed after a lull
of some years.
1973 New Zealand also took a case to the International
Court of Justice to seek an end to atmospheric nuclear
testing, building international pressure against France's
testing programmes in the Pacific. France stopped
its atmospheric testing programme in 1974, and brought
its underground test programme to an end in 1995.
Zealand also strongly supported the United Nations General
Assembly request to the International Court of Justice
in 1994 for an advisory opinion on the legality of nuclear
welcomed the historic ruling by the Court in 1996 that
the threat or use of nuclear weapons was generally illegal,
and that there exists an obligation "to pursue in good
faith, and to bring to a conclusion, negotiations leading
to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict
and effective international control".
1987 New Zealand had passed legislation declaring the
country to be nuclear free. We did so because
of our belief in the immorality of nuclear weapons,
and because we know that nuclear war would be a catastrophe
for our planet. The Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament,
and Arms Control Act bans the entry of all nuclear weapons
and nuclear powered vessels. It has enjoyed a
consistently high level of public support since it was
Act of Parliament also implemented in New Zealand the
South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, or Treaty of Rarotonga.
Treaty of Rarotonga creates a nuclear free zone covering
New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Island countries
south of the equator. It entered into force in
1986, and has been ratified by all of the original Treaty
States, demonstrating the strength of support for the
eradication of nuclear weapons in our region.
widespread support for the Rarotonga Treaty demonstrates
how countries can further the nuclear disarmament cause
question facing this forum is broad: How can regions
work collectively to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) and display even more widespread solidarity
for the eradication of nuclear weapons?
Weapon Free Southern Hemisphere
Nuclear Weapon Free Southern Hemisphere initiative is
one possibility for progress.
initiative envisages a time when all the nuclear weapon
free zones in the Southern Hemisphere will have entered
into force, providing a continuous zone free from nuclear
weapons which extends over the southern half of the
goal may sound lofty, but it can be achieved, with continued
momentum and support from all Southern Hemisphere states.
Treaties of Rarotonga (for the South Pacific), Tlatelolco
(for Latin America and the Caribbean), Bangkok (for
South East Asia), and the Antarctic have already entered
into force. The Treaty of Pelindaba for the African
region has yet to enter into force. I urge all
parliamentarians attending from that region to do your
utmost in your home parliaments to bring the process
of ratification forward.
year at the United Nations General Assembly, New Zealand
again had the pleasure of working with Brazil to promote
the resolution entitled: "Nuclear-weapon-free southern
hemisphere and adjacent areas".
it is disappointing that this resolution did not achieve
consensus, it does have a very wide support base within
the United Nations community. The negative votes
come from those countries which are concerned that a
nuclear weapon free southern hemisphere would impact
on their rights to free passage on the high seas.
Zealand has been, and remains, a strong supporter of
the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
We fully respect the rights that all states parties
enjoy under that Convention, including the freedom of
navigation on the high seas. We will continue
to work with those states which have expressed reservations,
in the hope that we may alleviate their concerns, and
gain their support for our work in the Southern Hemisphere.
work and progress on nuclear weapon free zones demonstrates
that while some states continue to retain nuclear weapons,
the majority of states remain determined to pursue a
world which is free of nuclear weapons.
this context, New Zealand welcomes Mexico's initiative
to organise a meeting on nuclear weapon free zones,
scheduled to take place in 2005. We hope that
this meeting will provide all participants with fresh
thinking on ways to engage with those states which remain
opposed to a Southern Hemisphere free of nuclear weapons.
have also noted with interest the recommendation in
the High Level Panel report on United Nations reform
suggesting that peace efforts in the Middle East and
South Asia could embrace nuclear disarmament talks.
That could lead ideally to the establishment
of nuclear weapon free zones in those regions, similar
to those established for Latin America and the Caribbean,
Africa, the South Pacific, and South-East Asia.
Zealand has been active in initiatives around the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and its forthcoming review
conference, we see the process around the Treaty providing
excellent opportunities to promote fresh thinking on
March this year, we sponsored a seminar on weapons of
mass destruction at the United Nations, run by the International
are looking at ways to contribute to the work of the
Blix Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction. We have
made a commitment to fund a seminar or study in an area
that the Commission identifies as directly relevant
to its work on disarmament issues, such as verification.
are also providing support for the work of the IAEA,
both in the field of nuclear verification, and more
specifically through our targeted contributions to the
Nuclear Security Fund. This initiative aims to
reduce the threat posed by terrorist access to nuclear
have just established a new funding programme to support
New Zealand NGOs in their disarmament education work.
Zealand works closely with its New Agenda colleagues
from Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, and
Sweden on nuclear disarmament issues.
Hobbs will address you on the New Agenda proposals for
disarmament and arms control. We believe that
in its eight years of existence, the New Agenda has
made a valuable contribution to nuclear disarmament,
and we expect it to continue to play an active and constructive
role at the NPT Review Conference in May 2005.
New Agenda's proposals have also been given impetus
by the report of the High Level Panel on United Nations
reform. On disarmament, it has recommended that
the nuclear weapon states "must honour their commitments
under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation
of Nuclear Weapons to move towards disarmament and be
ready to take specific measures in fulfilment of those
am very conscious of the positive and valuable role
parliamentarians have played in the increased support
gained at the United Nations General Assembly this year
by the New Agenda resolution: "Towards a nuclear weapons
free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear
urge this network of parliamentarians to keep up a high
level of activity in the period leading up to the NPT
Review Conference in May next year. Your support
and foremost, we need to keep before us the essential
bargain that the NPT represents: that the five nuclear
weapons states would work towards elimination of their
nuclear arsenals, while other treaty members (the non-nuclear
weapons states) agreed not to seek nuclear weapons,
in return for guaranteed access to the benefits of peaceful
nuclear technology. We also need to see nations
follow through on the commitments they made at the NPT
Review Conference in 2000.
Zealand is supportive of initiatives over the past two
years to address proliferation concerns.
are looking at ways to strengthen export controls on
support work to extend the IAEA's verification powers
– New Zealand has long held the view that all
states should accede to the IAEA's Additional Protocol
and that this should be a condition for supply of nuclear
have expressed support for the Proliferation Security
Initiative principles, and attended some meetings.
have supported on going work in the IAEA on increasing
security of radioactive sources.
have continued work on bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear
Test Ban Treaty into force through our core sponsorship
of a resolution in the United Nations in New York, and
our support of the Treaty's Provisional Technical Secretariat
in Vienna. We have completed our full complement
of seven international monitoring stations in New Zealand,
as part of the Treaty's verification regime.
We are also working with Pacific neighbours to establish
and administer stations in Fiji, the Cook Islands and
have contributed $1.2 million towards destruction of
chemical weapons in the Russian Federation, under the
G8 Global Partnership
we have reported under UN Security Resolution 1540 on
our implementation of this resolution.
while we will willingly contribute to non proliferation
and counter proliferation initiatives, those initiatives
should be promoted alongside initiatives to secure binding
commitments from those who have nuclear weapons which
move us further towards the longer term goal of nuclear
world cannot afford to be complacent about the existence
and threat of nuclear weapons. They are still
with us and they are still dangerous. The fear
of imminent Armageddon which frightened young people
in the 1980s has passed for now. The urgency
of the task seems to have been surpassed by the apparent
immobility of national power politics. Yet the
are very aware of the need to work very hard in the
lead up to and at the NPT review conference, to ensure
that the central objective of disarmament remains to
the fore, and is implemented.
look forward to the continuing strong support and involvement
of this network of parliamentarians in working for a
nuclear free world.