Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control disestablished
Act now! Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control disestablished
Peace Movement Aotearoa
15 December 2011
This action alert has information about the disestablishment of the position of Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, and a section with contact details for relevant politicians if you would like to take action on it. This message is available online at http://www.facebook.com/notes/peace-movement-aotearoa/act-now-minister-for-disarmament-and-arms-control-disestablished/278032558910787
It appears that the National-led government has disestablished the position of Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control as the Ministerial list released on Monday does not include this. It further seems that the portfolio itself has gone, as there is a footnote linked to 'Minister of Foreign Affairs' which reads: "The Foreign Affairs portfolio incorporates the responsibilities formerly included in the Disarmament and Arms Control portfolio." - http://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Ministerial_List_12_December-2011.pdf
The Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition (ANZCMC) has written a letter to Murray McCully that, among other things, expresses deep disappointment about this, see 'New Zealand scraps its disarmament minister' at http://www.stopclusterbombs.org.nz/2011/12/13/new-zealand-scraps-disarmament-minister/
Aside from the general undesirability of the Ministerial position going, it also raises an interesting question about whether the NZ Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 should have been amended in advance of this move. Although the Act did not set up the Ministerial position, it does refer to the Minister as the Chairman [sic] of PACDAC - "18 Membership of Committee. (1) The Committee shall consist of 9 members, of whom - (a) one shall be the Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, who shall be the Chairman". - http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1987/0086/latest/096be8ed8075a0e2.pdf
There is of course a further question as to whether PACDAC can now operate legally in the absence of a Chairperson.
In addition, the Green party also seems to have disestablished their disarmament and arms control portfolio, see http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1112/S00098/greens-release-mp-portfolios-for-50th-parliament.htm Although Kennedy Graham has responded to a question from the ANZCMC by saying it is included in his new Global Affairs portfolio, his blog 'The Global Affairs Portfolio: Setting the Foreign Policy Agenda' makes no mention of disarmament, see http://blog.greens.org.nz/2011/12/15/the-global-affairs-portfolio-setting-the-foreign-policy-agenda/
The only hope now is that the Labour Party will keep a shadow disarmament and arms control portfolio, otherwise it will be gone completely ...
* What you can do about this
If you would like to take action on this, please contact the government to urge them to re-establish the disarmament and arms control portfolio as a separate entity with its own Minister; the Labour Party to urge them to ensure they continue to have a disarmament and arms control portfolio; and the Green Party to urge them to re-establish a clear disarmament and arms control portfolio.