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NZ Should Look Closer To Home On Whaling - Greens

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is urging the Government to follow the lead of the United States and ban Japanese fishing boats from New Zealand waters in response to Japan's expanded whaling effort.

The United States Government yesterday banned Japan from future access to fishing rights in US waters and has threatened economic sanctions if Japan does not curtail an expanded hunt on whales.

Ms Fitzsimons said New Zealand should follow the US lead by prohibiting the Japanese fishing company Maruha from fishing in New Zealand waters. Maruha has applied for an exemption from the Overseas Investment Commission in order to own New Zealand fishing quota under the Fisheries Act 1996.

"Given Maruha's history as one of Japan's leading whaling companies, and published reports that say they are the main receiver of illegally caught toothfish, the Green Party believe it would be totally inappropriate to have them fishing our waters.

"There is no way the New Zealand public want companies associated with whaling fishing in our waters," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said denying the application would be a good first step in backing up New Zealand's verbal opposition to whaling with some genuine action.

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee said the US move was 'understandable' but dismissed the idea of New Zealand joining the United States in imposing trade sanctions against Japan.

"It would be a shame if the New Zealand Government allowed its free trade agenda to over-ride its concern for the ongoing survival of whales," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"Japan has criticised the United States for taking unilateral action. We should join the US and make this a multilateral action."


Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 07 868 6641, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090

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