N.C.C.D. Disarmament Times

An occasional newsletter on disarmament progress in New Zealand and abroad, published by


Volume 2, Number 2, July 1999

Disarmament Policy:
a template for political parties


The NCCD has been consulting with political parties over the last six months, inquiring about their policies on disarmament, asking how their policy-making takes place, and offering help should they be interested.

Party policies
Nuclear Disarmament

General Disarmament

General disarmament does not have the same support nor such clearly formulated policies as nuclear disarmament. However, these ideas are clearly understood: (1) there are too many small arms floating about in the world, (2) many weapons such as depleted uranium ordinance, and cluster bombs are indiscrimiate or inhumane and should be scrapped, (3) weapons of mass destruction such as the biological/chemical weapons must be eliminated. But little thought seems to have been given about how the disarmament which is needed can be achieved.

Disarmament at home

All parties supported the passage of the Anti-Personnel Mines Prohibition Act 1998 which prohibits New Zealand's use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines. NCCD supported the major efforts of NGOs to help achieve this legislation.
No parties except the Greens (who will enter the next election independently) have policies which discuss disarmament in New Zealand. Such policies, if any, are found in policy statements about Gun Control, Security, and Defence.
All parties except ACT believe that there should be better gun control to cut down on mass murders such as at Aramoana and Raurimu. No party has a policy enumerating how much, if any, money they are willing to spend on this matter. Do they say one thing but believe another?
All parties have Security or Defence policies; all involve New Zealand having standing military forces and conventional weapons. The main differences are in the size, mix and equipment of these forces. It is in amount of money the policies would involve that we can see the parties' picture of the future world, their attitude to general world disarmament, and to New Zealand disarmament.
The Greens would like the forces amalgamated, no offensive weapons, tasks cut back to fisheries protection, disaster relief and UN peacekeeping back-up; the defence budget halved and the money saved put into social policies. National appears to have a policy of keeping our forces much as they are, but better equipped, including (expensive) weapons which can be used for co-operative fighting alongside western allies. Labour endorses a small well equipped force with a strong UN-back-up role and fewer weapons chosen for their usefulness to allies. ACT, Mauri Pacific, and NZFirst, so far, have poorly enunciated policies and United is clear that major sophisticated weapons systems are a poor buy.

The White Paper on Defence (1999) says the military make 'an appropriate contribution to the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.' This belief depends on a narrow definition of security and stability. All parties agree that New Zealand faces no threat of invasion, but only the Greens suggest that security and stability might be better achieved by friendly and helpful diplomatic, trade, scientific and cultural contacts, and aid, than by military posturing.

A Template
For Parties revising their policies before the 1999 election.
O For voters questioning candidates.
For anyone hoping for more progress in disarmament.

The ................................... Party

Security in the modern world

Weapons of mass destruction

Small arms

NCCD Disarmament Times
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