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Labour Urges NZ Government To Work With Australia To Finally Phase Out Whaling

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Labour's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Chris Carter is urging the Government to get behind an Australian proposal to finally phase out whaling, which will be considered at a special meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Florida tomorrow.

"Whaling nations want to restart commercial hunting of these endangered mammals. By contrast Australia wants to stop whaling once and for all. The IWC has only two solid options on the table," Chris Carter said.

"Australia's position has been backed by respected NGOs including the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

"New Zealand used to be seen as a world leader in marine mammal conservation. Many Kiwis regard whales as iconic creatures and do not understand the need to kill them for scientific or any other purposes. The action we've seen against the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean this year reflects the strong feelings many New Zealanders share.

"Sadly I have no confidence that this National-Act Government cares about marine mammal conservation.

"Last year John Key didn't even bother to send a Minister to the International Whaling Commission meeting in Portugal. This was the first time in 10 years that New Zealand was not represented at Cabinet level at the annual IWC conference.

"Australia is opening up a huge lead over New Zealand in whale conservation. Last month Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave Japan's whalers a clear choice; stop killing whales in the Southern Ocean or face the legal consequences.

"If Japan does not voluntarily end its whaling programme by November of this year then Australia will take a case to the International Court of Justice. Our Government refused to back Australia then, and there's not a lot of evidence that they'll be backing our Trans-Tasman mates today.

"John Key has spoken a lot about 'closing the gap' with Australia. He also promised two months ago that he would announce a fresh diplomatic initiative to end Japanese whaling in our region. Now he has the chance to do both.

"Please work with Australia tomorrow, Mr Key. New Zealanders, endangered marine mammals, and our planet need you to step up now."

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