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No IWC Support For South Pacific Whale Sanctuary

Failure to gain IWC support for South Pacific whale sanctuary leaves Conservation Minister "more determined" to pursue protection measures

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee says she's now even more determined to pursue protection measures for the pacific's great whales following the failure of a New Zealand-Australian initiative to get the International Whaling Commission to support a proposed South Pacific whale sanctuary.

Delegates at the IWC's annual meeting in Adelaide voted this afternoon in a ballot (18 for to 11 against, with 4 abstentions) that resulted in the sanctuary proposal failing to gain the three quarters majority of voting countries required.

Ms Lee, who is leading the New Zealand delegation, said she was "disappointed" but that she always knew the vote for the South Pacific whale sanctuary was going to be "close", after intensive lobbying in the lead up to this week's meeting.

"New Zealand is grateful for the international support that we and Australia gained for our whale sanctuary joint proposal," Ms Lee said. "There is no question that we will ask the IWC to re-visit this issue as soon as it is appropriate."

Ms Lee said she was also concerned that the present moratorium on commercial whaling appeared to be coming under pressure to be reviewed.

"The pro-whaling nations have sent clear signals in Adelaide that they want the question of the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling reconsidered," she said. "New Zealand will be staunch in its opposition to the resumption of the wholesale global slaughter of whales."

ends

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