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IWC meeting critical opportunity for progress

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

21 June 2008 Media Release
Embargoed until 4am Saturday 21 June

IWC meeting critical opportunity for progress

Next week’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is a critical opportunity for the organisation to move forward towards operating as an effective international body, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick says.

Steve Chadwick is leading the New Zealand delegation to the 60th meeting of the Commission, from 23 to 27 June in Santiago, Chile.

“This is a crucial time for the future of the Commission – for years members have been divided and meetings have been characterised by confrontation. If we are to achieve protection for the world’s whales, it is vital that the Commission adopts a new approach,” Steve Chadwick says.

“New Zealand is committed to engaging constructively at the Chile meeting, to considering all options and to finding a way to break the existing deadlock between pro and anti-whaling countries.

“New Zealand’s engagement will include supporting procedural improvements to modernise the IWC.

“We have a long history of leading international efforts to promote the conservation of whales and if we are to succeed with this aim it is essential that the IWC finds a new way of functioning.

“We will continue to represent New Zealanders’ strongly held views on whaling and will strongly advocate for whale protection. The best chance for the future of whale conservation is through a reformed Commission.”

Steve Chadwick says New Zealand remains deeply concerned by Japan’s whaling programme in the Southern Ocean and strongly rejects any claims that lethal whaling is necessary to obtain information on whale populations.

“We stand at a crossroads for the future of the IWC and the future of whales – if we fail to address the issues causing dysfunction, this may lead to the breakdown of the Commission and we would fail to serve the interests of whale conservation.

“New Zealand’s best hope to protect whales is if this meeting can find a new way forward, which frees the IWC from the confrontation that has stalled progress in the past.”


ENDS

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