Banning the Bomb
New Zealand has voted to unanimously to ban cluster munitions. New Zealand’s Cluster Munitions Prohibition Bill bans the use, development, production and stockpiling of cluster munitions in the country and by New Zealanders offshore. The first cluster bombs uses operationally were the German butterfly bombs during World War II to attack military and civilian targets. Around 34 nations have made them in the past, but the United States, Russia and China are the major producers now. American slang for the bomb is firecracker or popcorn. New Zealand was one of the first countries to sign the convention banning cluster bombs. New Zealand played a leading role in the negotiation of the convention, including hosting a crucial meeting in Wellington in February 2008. “New Zealand has a profile far above our size or place in the world on disarmament issues and I am extremely proud to continue that tradition with this bill,” Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Georgina te Heuheu said.