Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Hon Phil Twyford will participate in the inaugural Meeting of the Parties to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (the Treaty of Rarotonga), which will take place virtually on 15 December 2020.

The Treaty of Rarotonga is one of several treaties that has played an important role in establishing nuclear free zones zones and denuclearising a number of regions of the world.

At their 50th Meeting last year, Pacific Island Forum Leaders called for the full operationalisation of the Treaty to address the potential threat of nuclear contamination to the Blue Pacific as a result of the nuclear weapons testing carried out years ago in our region.

The security and prosperity of the Pacific, as well as nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, are all important and long-standing New Zealand priorities. The Minister will join with Pacific colleagues in demonstrating solidarity on these issues and reaffirming our commitment to the Treaty of Rarotonga and a world free of nuclear weapons.

The meeting will also provide an opportunity for Ministers to discuss developments, issues and opportunities arising from the Treaty of Rarotonga, which is now 35 years old.

The meeting takes place ahead of an important year for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Plans for 2021 include the 50th Anniversary Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons — the first global ban on nuclear weapons.