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Whaling Commission numbers too close to call

Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Conservation

17 June 2006 Media Statement

Whaling Commission numbers too close to call

The numbers at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) remain too close to call, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today shortly after arriving at the Commission's annual meeting in St Kitts.

"It appears that three new members are likely to join the Commission in support of the pro-whaling bloc this year – Cambodia, the Marshall Islands and Guatemala," Mr Carter said.

"This is against the addition of one nation to the pro-conservation bloc – Israel. However, it remains unclear how many of the developing nations recruited by the pro-whalers have paid their membership dues and are actually eligible to vote in the Commission.

"This is going to be a very intense IWC meeting," Mr Carter said.

"We will not know whether the pro-whalers have taken a simple majority for the first time until key votes on issues like the introduction of a secret ballot, which New Zealand vigorously opposes, are held. Even then, the meeting may prove highly changeable and unpredictable.

"New Zealand's delegation will be lobbying intensively to minimise the impact of a shift in numbers, and defend the IWC's focus on whale conservation.

"We will be underscoring to the Commission, New Zealand's strong opposition to scientific whaling by Japan which has seen Southern Ocean whales end up in pet food in the name of research," Mr Carter said.


ENDS


Editors note: the IWC annual meeting begins at 1am New Zealand tomorrow. By 6am New Zealand time the Commission should have had it's first key vote.

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