New Zealand is a strong supporter of disarmament, particularly of weapons whose inhumane effects breach international humanitarian law and the associated laws of armed conflict covered by the Geneva and Hague Conventions.

We're a signatory to international treaties and conventions that work to limit the production, proliferation and use of inhumane conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

The elimination of nuclear weapons is a particular focus and New Zealand has a long-standing reputation for taking a firm, principled line on this. New Zealand is also concerned about stockpiles of chemical weapons, the potential of biological weapons, and the use of many conventional weapons, including cluster munitions, landmines and small arms. While a range of international treaties indicate a strong will to work toward disarmament, reducing global weapon stockpiles can be a frustratingly a slow process. 

MFAT’s role

MFAT’s International Security and Disarmament Division advises the Minister of Foreign Affairs on arms control and disarmament policy. The division implements and advocates for disarmament policy through our posts, especially in Geneva, Vienna, The Hague, New York, and Paris, as well as at home. It also ensures our obligations under international treaties and arms control regimes are met.

MFAT coordinates the Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control (PACDAC), which advises the government on disarmament issues.

Read more about PACDAC

Our disarmament work

New Zealand’s disarmament work is guided by international treaties in two areas:

Weapons of mass destruction – Nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons

Conventional weapons – Land mines, cluster munitions, arms trade, small arms and light weapons, and inhumane weapons

We're also party to several international agreements on the import and export of strategic goods (weapons and materials that can be used to manufacture weapons). In line with these agreements, New Zealand has laws around the trade of strategic goods.