Practice Relating to the Prohibition of Certain Types of Landmines
New Zealand’s Anti-Personnel Mines Act (1998) provides:
No person may
(a) Use an anti-personnel mine; or
(b) Develop, produce, or otherwise acquire an anti-personnel mine; or
(c) Possess, retain, or stockpile an anti-personnel mine; or
(d) Transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, an anti-personnel mine; or
(e) Assist, encourage, or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in conduct referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d).
In 1995, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, New Zealand stated that it remained “committed to the goal of the elimination of all anti-personnel land-mines”.
New Zealand first spoke in support of a total and immediate ban on anti-personnel landmines during the Vienna session of the Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in September 1995. On 22 April 1996, at the opening of the final session of the Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, Switzerland, New Zealand unilaterally renounced the operational use of anti-personnel landmines through a joint statement by the Minister of Defence and the Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control.
New Zealand attended the early meetings of pro-ban governments during the close of the Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1996 and from then on was a member of the core group of countries that took responsibility for developing and promoting the mine ban treaty. It endorsed the Final Declaration of the Brussels Conference on Anti-personnel Landmines in June 1997, voted in favour of the relevant UN General Assembly resolutions in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and, in the lead-up to the signing conference in Ottawa, Canada, in December 1997, encouraged as many countries as possible to sign the mine ban treaty.
During a parliamentary debate on the ratification of the 1997 Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines and implementation legislation, the Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Don McKinnon, stated:
New Zealand has already declared that we do not need antipersonnel landmines. Our forces have not used them since the Korean War, and we hold no stocks of these weapons. In 1996 the Government announced a moratorium on the use of landmines, which resulted in our Defence Force unilaterally renouncing the use of landmines as a weapon of war. By signing the Ottawa treaty, the Government made it clear that we will explore all avenues for achieving a complete global ban, and that is what this Bill seeks to do.
At the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1999, New Zealand stated that it would “continue to play a constructive role in international de-mining efforts and in encouraging the universal ratification of the Ottawa Convention”.