Winston Peters given newly-revived ministerial role of nuclear disarmament

Source: NZN

The government is bringing back a ministerial role focused on promoting global nuclear and chemical weapon disarmament, with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters to take on the job.

In her first major foreign policy speech, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today held an audience at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs the government was set to reinstate the position of minister for disarmament and arms control.

"Risks to global peace and security are growing," she said.

"The greatest challenge we have today comes from North Korea, situated right here in our region."

The portfolio will focus on the spread of nuclear, chemical and conventional weapons.

Mr Peters will be the minister in charge.

New Zealand's efforts at promoting disarmament of weapons of mass destruction are currently carried out through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"[The portfolio] is an acknowledgement of the emphasis this government places on our long held anti-nuclear stance, and the role we must play now and in the future," Ms Ardern said.

"The pursuit of disarmament is as vital today as it was when Norman Kirk and David Lange proclaimed New Zealand's opposition to nuclear weapons and nuclear testing in the Pacific."

The separate role of the minister for disarmament and arms control was disestablished in 2011.

The government was also looking at an early ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons - which was signed by 56 countries last July, Ms Ardern said.