76th Session of the UN General Assembly: Statement by Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control at the High-Level Meeting to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

E ngā mana, e ngā reo

Tēnā koutou katoa

Mr President,

In Hiroshima and Nagasaki seventy-six years ago, the horrific consequences of nuclear weapons became a reality. And for decades in the Pacific, nuclear testing devastated communities and ecosystems.

It is important to keep this in mind every time we talk about nuclear weapons.

The words we use in diplomatic forums like this one, can be traced back to a community displaced as a result of nuclear testing; or whole cities – cities full of homes, schools, and workplaces – devastated.

This is what is at stake if we fail.

Over several decades, we as an international community have made significant steps to achieving a world free from nuclear weapons. But recent progress has slowed, and in some cases reversed. This is unacceptable.

What we do next matters.  A strong outcome at next year’s NPT Review Conference will be an important signal. Should we fail, we will find ourselves in uncharted territory, having not achieved an outcome at successive Review Conferences.

The Nuclear-weapon States must come ready to engage proactively and constructively, with initiatives that make clear their ongoing commitment to achieving the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The world is watching.

We live in uncertain times, with growing great power rivalries. But Mr President, it is New Zealand’s view this is precisely the time when we must redouble our commitment to multilateral disarmament efforts, to rebuild confidence and lower the risk of war.

It is for this reason that non-nuclear weapon States worked so hard to ensure the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which makes nuclear weapons illegal for those States that join. 

As we plan for its First Meeting of States Parties, we encourage all countries to consider taking part, as Parties, Signatories or observers. The TPNW coexists alongside the NPT, building on its vision for a nuclear weapon free world. Over time, it will strengthen the global norm against nuclear weapons.

Mr President, New Zealand is committed to completing our shared nuclear disarmament mission. And we look forward to working with you all to achieve this.  

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.


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