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Minister concerned? Send a frigate - Greens

8 January 2008

Minister concerned? Send a frigate - Greens

The Government must back up the Conservation Minister's concerns for safety in the Antarctic region, expressed this morning, by sending New Zealand Navy frigates to the region, Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

Mrs Turei says that New Zealand frigates are needed in Antarctica to act in a dual capacity - as protest ships and as a safety measure in the event of any dangerous incidents.

"The fact is that there is a very high potential for things to go wrong in an extremely hostile natural environment, where human emotions are running high," Mrs Turei says.

"The Japanese whaling fleet is already reportedly half way through their aim of slaughtering 1000 whales, and the Australian Government's boat is yet to leave harbour. This makes it more pressing than ever that New Zealand sends a representative ship to make clear our country's abhorrence of this senseless crime against these rare and wonderful marine mammals.

"While Orion aircraft might be able to collect information on the whalers' activities, there is very little they could do in a situation where either whalers or protesters might require assistance."

Last year, in an incident unrelated to the protest ships' activities, a factory ship, the Nissan Maru, caught fire causing the death of one of its crew and raising fears of an environmental oil-spill disaster.

"Our Navy was the first off the mark in the rescue effort then, just as they will be if anything happens this year," Mrs Turei says.

The Green Party is running its own summer campaign against whaling. They are asking New Zealanders concerned about whaling to build a sand-whale sculpture on a beach during the holiday season, take a picture of it with their friends and family, and email it to the Green Parliamentary Office at

Photos of sand-whales are available at At the end of summer they will all be compiled into a book and sent to the Japanese Fisheries Minister and to Japanese media.


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