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Positive start to IWC meeting

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

23 June 2008 Media Release
Positive start to IWC meeting

Good progress has already been made towards negotiating new processes for the International Whaling Commission (IWC), Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said today.

Steve Chadwick was speaking from Chile, where she is leading the New Zealand delegation, which includes New Zealand’s Commissioner Sir Geoffrey Palmer. The Chilean Minister of Foreign Relations, Alejandro Foxley, and Minister for the Environment, Ana Lya Uriate, officially opened the 60th meeting of the IWC today.

“New Zealand’s main objective is to secure a new way for the IWC to function, that ultimately leads to the end of scientific whaling,” Steve Chadwick said.

“Commercial whaling has been prohibited throughout the world’s ocean for the last twenty years, however in reality it has continued under the guise of scientific whaling,” she said.

Steve Chadwick said that intensive discussions had occurred at the officials level during the last week, including the closed door Commissioners’ meeting on Sunday.

“All nations seem prepared to make this work and we have a very constructive atmosphere. I am confident that New Zealand is moving in the right direction to reach our goal at this meeting.”

Steve Chadwick said it was great to be in Chile for this meeting as the two countries share a positive relationship on many issues, including conservation.

“As well as sharing a strong view of the importance of protecting whales, Chile and New Zealand also share several species of whales and dolphins. The Hector’s dolphin, which the New Zealand government has just announced new protection measures for, is closely related to the tiny Chilean dolphin.

“Today I joined at the Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, and Ministers from Chile, Australia, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica at Quintay on the coast, to witness the declaration of the new marine sanctuary in the Gulf of Corcovado. Establishing this new sanctuary demonstrates Chile’s commitment to marine protection and I congratulate the Chilean Government on this positive step.

“Yesterday I joined the Chilean Minister for the Environment and more than a thousand Chileans to form a human whale sculpture, calling for the protection of whales.

“South Americans are widely known for their passion, and it was wonderful to see this passion for whale conservation. Their views reflect the deep feeling New Zealanders have on protecting these stunning creatures.

“My meeting yesterday with Peter Garrett, the Australian Minister for the Environment reconfirmed both countries’ determination to find a way to end scientific whaling. New Zealand and Australia share very similar views on whale conservation and we will continue to work closely at the IWC to ensure a constructive meeting that maximises the protection of whales.”

Steve Chadwick said she had had positive meetings with Ministers from Chile, Australia, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica.

This afternoon the Commission discussed the report from the Scientific Committee and from tomorrow it is expected to consider processes for moving forward.


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