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Japan wins majority at IWC

19 June 2006

Japan wins majority at IWC

Japan has won a simple majority on a significant vote at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for the first time, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

"The IWC has been finely balanced throughout this years' meeting in St Kitts. Until now, we have been able to hold the line. But today Senegal showed up and joined the pro-whaling group allowing Japan to win a key vote on a declaration on the direction of the IWC that seeks to move the Commission back towards commercial whaling," Mr Carter said.

"The declaration itself does not mean commercial whaling is about to resume because that would require a 75 percent majority, but today's events are still a very alarming development.

"The declaration was about as extreme as it could be and the fact that a simple majority of the IWC would vote for it is a wake up call to the world that whales are no longer safe.

"New Zealand will have to redouble its efforts to ensure Japan's majority does not become a permanent fixture. Public opinion around the world must be mobilised.

"I am deeply disappointed that the 6 Pacific nations here at the IWC – Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Solomons – all voted with Japan. These countries have let down their neighbours in the Pacific, many of whom have established whale sanctuaries to protect marine life in their waters," Mr Carter said.

"New Zealand has often gone the extra mile for many of these Pacific nations and today they have not reciprocated," Mr Carter said.

ENDS

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