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PM supports Greenpeace Whaling Petition

PM supports Greenpeace whaling petition

Prime Minister Helen Clark today supported the launch of Greenpeace's petition for a global whale sanctuary.

Helen Clark said that the new government would continue New Zealand's consistent opposition to whaling and work strongly to promote sanctuaries for whales.

'New Zealand will work closely with Australia to pursue our joint proposal for a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary whose development was endorsed by the South Pacific Forum as a step towards a global sanctuary. We will also promote strongly the protection of whales at the next meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Adelaide in July.

'Protection for whales is at the forefront of public attention again because of Japan's refusal to acknowledge global opposition to its whaling programme in the Southern Ocean.

'The New Zealand Government does not accept Japan's contention that it is whaling for scientific purposes. It is well known that meat from the whales slaughtered under the so-called Japanese Whaling Research programme ends up for commercial sale in Japan itself.

'New Zealand believes that almost all the information Japan says it wants to gain from its whaling programme could be obtained from non-lethal methods of testing.

'It was never envisaged that Article 8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which deals with scientific whaling, could justify taking 440 whales last year, or an estimated 4,500 whales since the so-called Japanese research programme began more than nine years ago. This suggests that New Zealand and like-minded countries should take up the issue of what can occur under the rubric of scientific research.

'An extraordinary development since the last meeting of the International Whaling Commission in May 1999 has been the public suggestions from a Japanese vice minister that Japanese aid could be used to boost the number of countries supporting the Japanese approach to whaling in the IWC. This sort of approach is deplorable. New Zealand would be most concerned if its effects were felt in the South Pacific.

'The Government wants to work alongside all other concerned governments and non-governmental organisations to ensure that all steps possible towards a global sanctuary can be taken as quickly as possible,' Helen Clark said.

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