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PM should whisper 'stop killing whales'

24 May 2005

PM should whisper in Koizumi's ear - 'stop killing whales'

The Green Party is urging the Prime Minister to take a message from New Zealanders to the Japanese Government during her upcoming visit to Tokyo - stop slaughtering whales.

"Miss Clark will have a direct opportunity to personally tell the Japanese Government that New Zealanders are shocked by plans to extend the minke whaling operation and begin a 'scientific' catch of humpback and fin whales, both of which are rare and endangered," Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Conservation Minister Chris Carter has already announced that the New Zealand Government wants to stop the Japanese plans. This is a perfect opportunity for Miss Clark to use the highest diplomatic channels to get that message across to them."

New Zealand's Green Party is working with the Australian Greens in a transTasman campaign aimed at stopping Japan's whaling plans.

As part of this, both parties have launched an initiative to get people to put pen to paper and write letters to the Japanese Embassy in each country.

This was kicked off last week with Ms Fitzsimons collecting signatures from people on Lambton Quay on a big letter to Japan's Ambassador in New Zealand, Masaki Saito.

"It quickly became apparent that New Zealanders care very deeply for whales. We had people queuing up to sign the letter. In just 45 minutes we had about 110 signatures.

"Through vote-buying of smaller nations, Japan has managed to muster enough support in the International Whaling Commission to seriously threaten the worldwide ban on commercial whaling that has been in place since 1986. We must do something to put a stop to this when they vote on the issue next month.

"The time for the horrific slaughter of these magnificent creatures is well and truly over. Miss Clark needs to pass this message to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi when she visits Japan next week."

ENDS


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