Wednesday, February 03, 2016


The Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control (PACDAC) is a stutory committee established by New Zealand's anti-nuclear law. It statutory functions include:

(a) to advise the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade on such aspects of disarmament and arms control matters as it thinks fit:
(b) to advise the Prime Minister on the implementation of this Act:
(c) to publish from time to time public reports in relation to disarmament and arms control matters and on the implementation of this Act...

But according to a recent OIA request lodged through FYI, the public OIA request site, it hasn't done any of those things for years:
With regard to the first two parts of your request, please find attached a copy of a 2009 letter from the then-outgoing acting Chair of PACDAC to then-Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control Georgina Te Heuheu outlining the range of recommendations made by PACDAC over the previous two years. This is the last written advice provided by PACDAC to the Minister and/or Prime Minister that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as Secretariat to PACDAC, has been able to locate. We are aware however that the Acting Chairs of PACDAC have periodic conversations with relevant Ministers. These conversations are not documented on Ministry files.

With regard to part three of your request, PACDAC commissioned research from former PACDAC member David Capie on small arms in the Pacific, which was published in 2003 by Victoria University Press as
'Under the Gun: The Small Arms Challenge in the Pacific'.

So essentially this statutory body has failed to perform its core statutory purpose for six years. Instead, they've focused on their subsidiary purpose: handing out grants from the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust (PADET).

So who is PACDAC? The National government hasn't announced any appointments (in fact, the last publicly announced appointments were in 2007), but the 2015 PADET annual report lists their membership as "Robert Ayson, Natasha Barnes, Nicholas Davidson, Hon. Wayne Mapp, Ross Miller, Paul Sinclair, Maui Solomon and Angela Woodward". Wayne Mapp of course is a former National MP and crony; as National Party defence spokesperson he advocated for New Zealand involvement in the Iraq war (even if it meant ignoring international law), and as Defence Minister he advocated against outlawing the international crime of aggression. Since leaving government, he has continued to advocate for war. With people like these on PACDEC, its no wonder it has been effectively disarmed.

But it does leave us with an obvious question: if a government committee is refusing to perform its core statutory function, why are we still paying them? And isn't it time we sacked them and replaced them with people who are willing to do the job?