New Zealand

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 12 August 2015

Five-Year Review: State Party New Zealand was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010. It enacted implementing legislation for the convention in December 2009, prior to ratifying. New Zealand has participated in all of the convention’s meetings and serves as the convention’s coordinator for national implementation measures. New Zealand has condemned new use of cluster munitions, including in Libya, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine.

In its initial transparency report for the convention provided in 2011, New Zealand confirmed that it has never produced cluster munitions and does not possesses a stockpile, including for research or training. New Zealand has not used cluster munitions.

Policy

New Zealand signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 22 December 2009. It was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010.

New Zealand’s implementing legislation for the convention is the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act, enacted on 17 December 2009.[1] The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has included instructions on compliance with the convention’s prohibitions in its law of armed conflict training.[2]

New Zealand submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 31 January 2011 and has provided annual updated reports ever since, most recently on 30 April 2015.[3]

New Zealand was an early supporter of diplomatic efforts to deal with cluster munitions and, as a member of the small Core Group of nations, took responsibility for leading the Oslo Process to its successful outcome. New Zealand hosted a key meeting of the Oslo Process in Wellington in February 2008. During the formal negotiations of the convention in Dublin in May 2008, New Zealand played a vital role in securing acceptance of the convention’s definitions.[4]

New Zealand engages proactively in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has participated in all of the convention’s Meetings of States Parties, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José, Costa Rica in September 2014. New Zealand has attended every intersessional meeting of the convention in Geneva, most recently in June 2015.

New Zealand has served as the convention’s coordinator on national implementation measures since 2011, chairing discussions on this topic at meetings of the convention and encouraging all States Parties to consider enacting specific national legislation to enforce the convention’s provisions. On 2 December 2014, New Zealand co-hosted a workshop in Geneva to promote universalization of the convention in Africa.

New Zealand has repeatedly condemned new use of cluster munitions. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council since January 2015, New Zealand has raised concern over the use of cluster munitions in Yemen and sought more information on the use.[5] In June 2015, New Zealand voted for a UN Security Council resolution that expressed concern at evidence of cluster munition use in Sudan and called for the government of Sudan to “immediately investigate the use of cluster munitions.”[6]

At the convention’s intersessional meetings in June 2015, New Zealand “unreservedly” condemned any and all use of cluster munitions. It condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria and expressed “deep concern” at reported recent use of cluster munitions in Libya, Sudan, Ukraine, and Yemen.[7] It repeated this condemnation of cluster munition use at another meeting of the convention in June 2015 and urged States Parties to employ strong language to condemn this use in draft documents prepared for the convention’s First Review Conference.[8]

At the convention’s Fifth Meeting of States Parties, New Zealand stated that it “joins others in unreservedly condemning any and all instances of the use of cluster munitions. Most regrettably, there has been evidence of the use of cluster munitions in South Sudan and, more recently, allegations of use in eastern Ukraine. Condemnation of the use of cluster munitions in Syria has been particularly noteworthy given the considerable number even of non State Parties who have done so.” It added, this response shows the convention “has already had a considerable impact on the global stigmatisation of this inhumane weapon system.”[9]

New Zealand has voted in favor of UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions condemning the use of cluster munition in Syria, including Resolution 69/189 on 18 December 2014, which expressed “outrage” at the continued use.[10]

New Zealand is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Interpretive issues

New Zealand’s 2009 implementation law prohibits assistance with acts banned by the convention without qualification or limitation, reflecting the nature of the Article 1 prohibition on assistance as a core and absolute obligation of the convention. In June 2011, New Zealand staetd that the act “makes clear that a member of the New Zealand Armed Forces commits an offence if he or she expressly requests the use of cluster munitions when engaged in military activities with the armed forces of a state that is not a party to the Convention and the choice of munitions used is within their exclusive control.”[11]

During the Dublin negotiations of the convention, New Zealand supported the inclusion of a new article on “interoperability” (joint military operations with states not party) and in the end stated that it viewed the resulting Article 21 as an acceptable compromise.[12] New Zealand has stated that Article 21’s positive obligations “will be implemented through mechanisms such as diplomatic representation.”[13] In August 2011, a senior NZDF official said that the “NZDF has made force commanders of combined, coalition or international forces to which members of the NZDF are contributed aware of our obligations” under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[14]

The Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009 specifically prohibits investment in cluster munition production. According to Clause 10(2), “A person commits an offense who provides or invests funds with the intention that the funds be used, or knowing that they are to be used, in the development or production of cluster munitions.” The government has not yet detailed how it will ensure compliance with the disinvestment provisions.[15]

The Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009 does not explicitly include “transit” in its definition of “transfer,” but the Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control said in April 2011 that New Zealand accepts that the prohibitions on assistance and transfer that are contained in the law include the prohibition of the transit of cluster munitions across, above, or through national territory.[16] New Zealand has the same position on transit of antipersonnel mines under the Mine Ban Treaty.[17]

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

New Zealand has stated that it “does not possess, will not acquire and will not use cluster munitions.”[18]

New Zealand has confirmed that it has no stockpiled cluster munitions and does not possess any for research or training.[19] In 2009 the government stated, “there is no present intention to bring any cluster munitions into New Zealand.”[20]

Clause 15 of the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009 permits the use, acquisition, possession, retention, and transfer of cluster munitions for training. This requires ministerial authorization and the number of cluster munitions should be the “minimum number that is absolutely necessary for the purposes” of training.



[1] The Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009 provides penal sanctions of up to seven years and fines of up to NZ$500,000 for violations of the law. See Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009, Public Act 2009 No. 68, 17 December 2009. For detailed analysis of the law see ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 93–96.

[2] The prohibitions relating to cluster munitions, as well as the detailed provisions on interoperability as set out in Article 21, form part of the law of armed conflict training of the NZDF at both the basic and advanced command level. The convention has been included in the draft “Defence Manual 69: The Manual of Armed Forces Law,” to be issued by the Chief of Defence Force in accordance with Section 27 of the Defence Act 1990. Meeting with Brig. Kevin Riordan, Director General of Defence Legal Service, NZDF, 4 April 2012.

[3] The report submitted on 31 January 2011 is for the period from 1 August 2010 to 31 January 2011, while calendar year periods are covered by the updated reports provided on 30 April 2012 (calendar year 2011), in May 2013 (calendar year 2012), on 22 April 2014 (calendar year 2013), and on 30 April 2015 (calendar year 2014).

[4] For details on New Zealand’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 129–132.

[7] Statement of New Zealand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

[8] New Zealand remarked that it could be flexible on the language, but preferred it be as strong as possible as “an expression of concern doesn’t cut it.” Statement of New Zealand, Second Preparatory Meetings for the First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 24 June 2015. Notes by HRW.

[9] Statement of New Zealand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San José, 2 September 2014.

[10]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/189, 18 December 2014. New Zealand voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013.

[11] Statement of New Zealand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Session on National Implementation Measures, Geneva, 29 June 2011. See also Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009, No. 68, Sec. 10(1) and (3).

[12] CMC, “CMC Dublin Conference Update–Day 7: Waiting,” 27 May 2008. On 11 January 2011, Wikileaks released a US Department of State cable dated 8 May 2008 that reported on a meeting held with a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) disarmament official. In the cable, the US embassy reported that New Zealand considers interoperability to be a key issue and stated, “MFAT indicates that New Zealand’s approach will be to develop more specific language regarding interoperability as opposed to deleting clauses 1 (b) and (c) of the draft convention.” “NZ, cluster munitions, and interoperability,” US Department of State cable dated 8 May 2008, released by Wikileaks on 10 January 2011.

[13] Hansard, “Cluster Munitions (Prohibition) Bill – Procedure, Second Reading, Third Reading,” Vol. 659, p. 8,482, 10 December 2009.

[14] Email from Brig. Kevin Riordan, NZDF, 14 August 2011.

[15] During the final debate on the bill, Select Committee Chair John Hayes said “there would…be a reasonable expectation that fund managers and investors would investigate the full portfolio of a company before investing, in case prohibited activities were involved. That provision may also be interpreted by the courts to include retaining an investment after the discovery of its involvement in cluster munitions development or production.” See Hansard, “Cluster Munitions (Prohibition) Bill – Procedure, Second Reading, Third Reading,” Vol. 659, p. 8,482, 10 December 2009; and Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition (ANZCMC), “Cluster bomb ban law passes,” 10 December 2009.

[16] Letter from Georgina te Heuheu, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, to Mary Wareham, ANZCMC, 29 April 2011. According to the letter, “Under New Zealand’s Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009 the transit of cluster munitions through New Zealand is an offence but…not all states share that position.” According to the Act (Part 1. Preliminary Provisions, 5. Interpretation), New Zealand’s definition of transfer includes (i) importation into, and exportation from, New Zealand; and (ii) the transfer of title to, and control over, cluster munitions.

[17] In October 2002, the Campaign Against Landmines (CALM) received a letter from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade that stated the government’s position that the transit of antipersonnel mines through New Zealand’s territorial waters is prohibited by domestic laws. It also noted that efforts to enforce these laws against a vessel exercising the right of innocent passage were limited. Letter from Geoff Randal, Director of the Disarmament Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to John Head, Convener, CALM, 15 October 2002.

[18] Statement by Phil Goff, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Parliamentary Reception, Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 20 February 2008.

[19] Form B (Stockpiles and destruction) and Form D (Cluster munitions retained and transferred) were not included in the Article 7 report, but on the report’s cover page these forms were marked as “not applicable.” Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, January 2011.

[20] Hansard, “Cluster Munitions (Prohibition) Bill – Procedure, Second Reading, Third Reading,” Vol. 659, p. 8,482, 10 December 2009. 


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

New Zealand signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 27 January 1999, becoming a State Party on 1 July 1999. Legislation to enforce the antipersonnel mine prohibition domestically was enacted on 9 December 1998.[1]

New Zealand regularly attends meetings of the treaty, including the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014, and more recently the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it provided statements on Article 5 clearance and universalization of the convention.[2] New Zealand also attended the intersessional meetings in Geneva in May 2019.

New Zealand served on the Standing Committees on the General Status and Operation of the Convention (2003–2005, 2013–2014) and Victim Assistance (2006–2008).

On 5 December 2018, New Zealand voted in favor of UN General Assembly resolution 73/61 promoting universalization and implementation of the convention, as it has done in previous years.[3]

New Zealand is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war. It is also party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and retention

New Zealand has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines but used them in limited quantities during World War II and the Korean War; operational use was prohibited in 1996. New Zealand destroyed its small stockpile of surplus training/practice mines in 1997.

New Zealand imported antipersonnel mines from the United States, and perhaps other nations.[4]



[1] The Anti-Personnel Mines Prohibition Act of 1998. The law makes engaging in prohibited activity an offence, punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or a fine not exceeding NZ$500,000 (approximately US$250,000).

[2] Statement of New Zealand, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 29 November 2018; and statement of New Zealand, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 30 November 2018.

[3] “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction,” UNGA Resolution 73/61, 5 December 2018.

[4] US Army records show that New Zealand imported 5,634 M18A1 Claymore mines from 1969–1988. Another government source indicates that the US shipped 6,486 antipersonnel mines to New Zealand, including 4,800 mines in the period 1983–1992, but there is no breakdown of mine type.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 14 November 2023

In 2022, New Zealand contributed approximately NZ$7.4 million (US$4.7 million) in mine action funding.[1] This represented a substantial decline from the NZ$14 million (US$9.8 million) provided in 2021.

New Zealand allocated a large proportion (68%) of its total 2022 contribution—NZ$5 million (US$3.2 million)—to global activities through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). NZ$1.5 million (US$0.9 million) of this went to unearmarked activities carried out by UNMAS. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Mine Action Center also received support from New Zealand, for the delivery of its mandate to build regional capacity to coordinate activities and implement mine action standards.

New Zealand supported multi-year assistance packages in Lao PDR (NZ$22 million for 2017–2024), Cambodia (NZ$6 million for 2020–2025), and Colombia (NZ$21.5 million for 2022–2024), but did not disaggregate the funding by year.[2]

Contributions by recipient: 2022[3]

Recipient

Sector

Amount (NZ$)

Amount (US$)

Global (UNMAS, ICRC)

Advocacy, clearance, risk education, core funding

5,000,000

3,180,500

Regional (ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center)

Capacity-building

895,000

569,310

Palestine

Capacity-building, risk education

780,000

496,158

Iraq

Capacity-building

700,000

445,270

Total

 -

7,375,000

4,691,238

Note: UNMAS=United Nations Mine Action Service; ICRC=International Committee of the Red Cross; ASEAN=Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Five-year support to mine action

From 2018–2022, New Zealand’s contribution to mine action totaled NZ$60.8 million (US$40.9 million). This represents a substantial increase—29% when expressed in national currency terms and 16% in United States (US) dollar terms—from the NZ$47.1 million (US$35.2 million) provided during the previous five-year period, from 2013–2017.

Summary of contributions: 2018–2022[4]

Year

Amount (NZ$)

Amount (US$)

% change from previous year (US$)

2022

7,375,000

4,691,238

-53

2021

13,971,000

9,883,085

+22

2020

12,450,000

8,090,010

-11

2019

13,750,000

9,062,625

-1

2018

13,236,000

9,171,224

+71

Total

60,782,000

40,898,182

N/A

Note: N/A=not applicable.

 

 



[1] Average exchange rate for 2022: NZ$1=US$0.6361. United States (US) Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 9 January 2023.

[2] New Zealand funds for humanitarian response in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen were not included in the Monitor database as the specific amount going towards mine action activities was not specified.

[3] New Zealand Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022), Form I. See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database.

[4] See previous Support for Mine Action country profiles. ICBL-CMC, “Country Profiles: New Zealand,” undated.