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New Zealand Intervention on Scientific Permits

New Zealand Intervention on Scientific Permits, 25 June 2008

60th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission
Santiago, Chile

Mr. Chair

New Zealand welcomes the report of the Scientific Committee on Japan’s Special Permit whaling in the Southern Ocean.

It will come as no surprise that New Zealand takes the floor under this item. We believe it is important, in the spirit of openness and “no surprises” with which we are engaged here, to clearly state our opposition to Japan’s programme of special permit whaling in the Southern Ocean.

We have no wish to engage in unproductive rhetoric. But we need to make clear the depth of feeling in New Zealand about this scientific whaling programme.

The annual expedition to the Southern Ocean inflames public opinion in New Zealand. As Minister of Conservation, I receive many representations about whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

Regrettably, over the past two seasons, events in the Southern Ocean have further underlined our concerns. We are worried about safety, to vessels and to human life, and we are worried about the potential for damage to the pristine Antarctic environment where this whaling takes place.

We acknowledge Japan’s decision not to take humpback whales last season. We know that that was a difficult decision and we respect the courage of the Japanese Government in taking that decision.

We look to Japanese leadership to continue to take the hard decisions, and to call a permanent halt to its lethal aspects of scientific whaling programme in the Southern Ocean.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.


New Zealand Intervention on Safety at Sea, 25 June 2008
60th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission
Santiago, Chile


Thank you Mr Chair

New Zealand fully shares concerns for the safe operation of vessels in the Southern ocean.

The Antarctic is one of the most remote areas of the world. The prospect of maritime incidents in this most fragile of environments is deeply troubling.

We are aware that the whaling fleet is expected, for the next whaling season, to operate in an area where New Zealand has search and rescue coordination responsibility. The simple reality of the extreme conditions and distances involved down in Antarctic waters is that search and rescue capability from any country is extremely limited.

The whaling fleet will inevitably be a magnet for protest. We believe in the right to peaceful protest. But we emphasis that this must be non-violent and not represent a risk to human life and property.

The presence of a number of vessels in close proximity is of real concern. Hence our willingness to continue to work with Japan, Australia and other countries on how we can deal with safety issues at sea.

ENDS

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