NZ's Opening Statement To Int. Whaling Commission
60th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission
Statement: Steve Chadwick – New Zealand Minister of Conservation:
This year’s IWC has the potential to be important for the future of the organisation. The intersessional process leading to IWC60 has provided us with a window of opportunity to explore ways to address both procedural and substantial issues.
New Zealand’s pro-conservation position is well-known. We are concerned that the great majority of whale populations, particularly those in the Southern Hemisphere, have not recovered from large-scale commercial whaling last century. We also have concerns about whale welfare and the cruelty of current killing methods. New Zealand’s position reflects the overwhelming public support in New Zealand for whale conservation.
New Zealand is a strong supporter of the diplomatic approach to solving the problems of the IWC. It is only through diplomatic dialogue and consensus that the Commission will be able to fully address the future of this organisation.
Seeking new methods of working is a key step in addressing the future of this Commission. New Zealand views the procedural changes proposed in the Secretariat’s paper as a positive first step. We look forward to discussions on this issue with all members of the IWC.
We welcome with interest the Chair’s proposal to find a way to consider the substantial issues we collectively face. New Zealand is open to all ideas for advancing discussions.
New Zealand remains deeply concerned with Japan’s scientific whaling programme in the Southern Ocean. We believe whales can be studied effectively using non-lethal methods. Whales do not need to be killed in the name of science.
We are aware that Japan’s whaling fleet is expected to return to the Southern Ocean in the coming season. The fleet’s presence will again be a magnet for protest, not just from NGOs, but from the New Zealand public who are deeply troubled by the annual whaling expeditions.
We look forward to engaging constructively in this meeting and working with all members of the IWC towards a positive and productive outcome.