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Monday, April 5

NZ’s stance about saving face in Tokyo, not saving whales or Pete Bethune


The Key Government’s support of commercial whaling and terrible advocacy for detained New Zealand Skipper Pete Bethune smacks of kowtowing to Tokyo, Green Party Oceans spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully and International Whaling Commission (IWC) representative Sir Geoffrey Palmer, are pushing for a compromise position on whaling that may see the resumption of commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean.

"The goal needs to be an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean. The New Zealand supported ‘compromise’ position will only legitimise commercial whaling and fail to set put a pathway to a full cessation of whaling," said Mr Hughes.

"Kiwis expect a strong anti-whaling stance by New Zealand and I believe are outraged by our weak stance.

"New Zealand can’t allow Japan a commercial whaling license without knowing when it will expire for good.

"Decades of Kiwi advocacy and the spirit of the 28-year old IWC moratorium would be ruined by this proposal that allows commercial whaling yet fails to set out a short term pathway to the end of whaling.

"It essentially rewards Japan for past illegal whaling," said Mr Hughes.

"Our position has rightfully been slammed by Australia's Environment Minister, Peter Garrett as flawed and a huge compromise to pro-whaling nations.

"We need to stand with Australia in a united anti-whaling front and do the right thing, not be motivated by the kudos of negotiating a deal, any deal, especially when it is weak and flawed."

Peter Bethune

"New Zealand’s new weak stance regarding whaling is further highlighted by the inaction shown over detained New Zealander Peter Bethune," said Mr Hughes.

Mr Bethune has now been charged by Japanese authorities with offences that could carry a prison term of up to 15 years.

"These charges are excessive and I believe politically motivated," said Mr Hughes.

"Our Government needs to stick up for this brave Kiwi who has been detained for months since attempting to carry out a citizens arrest of the Japanese Captain who allegedly rammed his New Zealand flagged vessel, the Ady Gil, in international waters."

"The Key Government still has time before the International Whaling Commission meeting and before Mr Bethune is locked up for good to find its backbone."