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NZ should send frigate to defend Greenpeace

21 June 2006

New Zealand should send frigate to defend Greenpeace

The Greens are very disappointed to see New Zealand co-sponsor a motion that censures Greenpeace for their defence of whales during Japan's whale hunt in the Southern Ocean, Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"New Zealand should be willing to send a frigate to observe the Southern Ocean whale hunt, to serve as
a watchdog and neutral witness to the behaviour of the Japanese whalers.

"Regarding the January 2006 incident that sparked the censure, Greenpeace have always maintained that their ship Arctic Sunrise was deliberately rammed by the Nisshin Maru, the factory ship of the Japanese whaling fleet.

"If a New Zealand frigate was present at such times, it would serve as a restraint on all parties, and function as a neutral witness in sorting out where fault may lie," Mrs Turei says.

"This is the time for all anti-whaling groups and countries to work together to stop Japan's slaughter of whales. Greenpeace are prepared to put their lives on the line for the values that New Zealanders
Express.

"Tactically, the censure motion may have headed off a Japanese move to revoke Greenpeace's observer status entirely, but even that concession to the Japanese is unwarranted. If New Zealand is willing to censure Greenpeace for trying to be a moral witness, it should now be willing to put its own frigate into that role instead.

"Protest action is essential for progress on whaling. It is only through the mix of lobbying, diplomatic missions, international scrutiny and activism that we will see any change," Mrs Turei says.

"Without Greenpeace, those images of whales thrashing against the side of the whaling ship, struggling to stay alive would not have been brought home to New Zealanders. It is these images, which are a product of Greenpeace's direct actions, that encourage New Zealand to maintain its strong opposition to whaling, and that maintain the wide base of public support for Conservation Minister Chris Carter's efforts at the IWC.

"It is utterly inappropriate for New Zealand to be enabling an attack on Greenpeace."

ENDS

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