No, we are not a member of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty – but we are on friendly terms with them

We reported yesterday on the speech – a short one of around 500 words – which the PM delivered to the 10th meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty.

She said the gathering provided an important opportunity to reiterate New Zealand’s unwavering commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons and she gave her audience a rundown on  our position.

But Point of Order could find no announcement that we had joined the group.  We were left to wonder if the PM was speaking as the representative of a member country or whether she had been invited among other guests who were attending.

We can now affirm that New Zealand is not a member.

We say  this on the strength of a response to our email to the office of the Minister for Disarmament & Arms Control, Phil Twyford in which we asked:

  • Is New Zealand a member of the Friends of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and – if so – when did we join?
  • If not, what are the reasons for not joining?

The answer:

 Aotearoa New Zealand is not a member of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which comprises Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands. Initiated in 2002, the purpose of the group is to sustain and generate further political momentum as well as public attention for the entry into force of the CTBT. Ministerial meetings coordinated by the Friends group are open to all CTBT ratifying states, while state signatories and non-signatories can participate as observers. 

 Aotearoa New Zealand is a strong and long-standing supporter of the CTBT, which we regard as an important component of the international disarmament and non-proliferation framework. There are a variety of initiatives to advance a world free of nuclear weapons, many of which Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of, while others enjoy our strong support. While we are not a member of the Friends group, we work closely with its members, in addition to other supporters of the CTBT, to advance the treaty’s universalisation. As a demonstration of our commitment to the CTBT, Aotearoa New Zealand, along with Australia and Mexico, are the main co-sponsors of the annual CTBT resolution at the United Nations General Assembly First Committee. Aotearoa New Zealand is pleased to be leading the coordination of the resolution this year.

We now know we are not a member but we are left to conjecture on why we have not joined.

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