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Greens delighted at whale sanctuary petition

26 June 2000

Greens delighted at whale sanctuary petition

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the 104,000 strong petition calling for a whale sanctuary in the South Pacific was the perfect sendoff for a Government delegation to the IWC meeting in Adelaide next month.

Ms Fitzsimons said the petition which was presented to Conservation Minister Sandra Lee today gave the Government a real mandate from New Zealanders to push hard for the South Pacific whale sanctuary.

"The Green Party offer their congratulations to Greenpeace New Zealand for collecting these signatures in such a short space of time," said Ms Fitzsimons. "We also applaud the Government for sending New Zealand's largest-ever official delegation to the International Whaling Commission meeting next month.

"Protecting whales in the South Pacific is an issue New Zealand is expected to take a leadership role on. A sanctuary in the South Pacific breeding grounds would perfectly complement the Southern and Indian Ocean sanctuaries and allow depleted whale numbers the chance to recover."

Ms Fitzsimons said she was delighted that Sandra Lee would be leading the New Zealand delegation as diplomacy would likely be required to secure the 24 votes needed to make the sanctuary happen. Ms Fitzsimons said she was confident Ms Lee would present New Zealand's case to the IWC in no uncertain terms.

"The Greens, alongside the 104,000 people who signed this petition, wish the Minister all the best for her trip to Adelaide. It would be a wonderful victory for both the whales and for New Zealand to secure a whale sanctuary in our regional waters."

Ends

Jeanette Fitzsimons: 07 868 6641 (hm), 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133



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