Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Lee Asks IWC To Maintain Transpancy

Hon Sandra Lee Media Speech
Conservation Minister Asks IWC, In Short Speech To Delegates, To Maintain Transparency

(Eds note: this is not the Minister's South Pacific whale sanctuary speech which is now expected to be given early tomorrow morning NZ time)

IWC Plenary Session Agenda Item 3.2 (Secret Ballots)
New Zealand's proposed resolution on Transparency within the International Whaling Commission
(Transcript of actual speech by Hon Sandra Lee, New Zealand Minister of Conservation, to the IWC Plenary Session in London)

Mr Chairman,

As New Zealand's Minister of Conservation, I wish to state my country's deep concern for the future well being of the IWC lies behind this Resolution. The Resolution supports openness, transparency, continuing open access to the media and NGOs, and the restriction of secret ballots to the selection of the chairperson and the location of meetings. Finally, however, the Resolution also supports the independence of sovereign countries to participate in the IWC, without interference or coercion from other sovereign countries.

This final point lies at the centre of New Zealand's most immediate concerns. We recently received the transcript of an interview with a prominent member of the Japanese delegation. During that interview it was stated that there is "nothing wrong" with his country using its Official Development Assistance Programme "in order to get appreciation of Japan's position" on whaling issues.

My Prime Minister and Government view the proposition of vote-buying as outrageous and have publicly said so. Taking advantage of the poverty or vulnerability of developing countries and small island states to buy their votes can only be regarded as a serious misuse of power and influence by a wealthy nation.

I should not need to remind this organisation that Principle 10 of the United Nations Declaration on Environment and Development calls on States to, among other things, "facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available".

For many years, the IWC struggled to justify itself to the outside world because of its lack of transparency. However, increasing media access, an expanded observer role for NGOs, and keeping secret ballots to a minimum has alleviated this problem.

But all these attempts to increase transparency are made a mockery if sovereign governments lose the very thing that makes them sovereign -- the right to make their own decisions, without the undue influence of other states.

The 1970 Declaration on the Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States, in accordance with the UN Charter stipulates that:

"No state may use or encourage the use of economic, political, or any other type of measures to coerce another state in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind."

New Zealand fails to see how tied aid or vote buying promotes good faith, transparency
or basic respect for independent governments. My Government believes it is important that the IWC is not perceived as condoning such strategies that would ultimately see participation by all but a few affluent nations becoming an exercise in futility.

It is disappointing that Japan is using such tactics as we have confidently worked alongside Japan in the United Nations and many other international fora.

My Government is sincerely disturbed, therefore, by conduct and comment that argues that such tactics are legitimate and appropriate.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

 

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>

ALSO:

Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>

ALSO:

State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages