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NZ hopeful for future of IWC

30 June 2008

NZ hopeful for future of IWC

New Zealand is cautiously optimistic that the agreed path forward for the International Whaling Commission (IWC) can solve some of the longstanding conflicts between IWC members, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said today.

“We have made good progress for negotiating a new way forward for the IWC, but we realise that the work ahead will be considerable, and we still have a long way to go,” Steve Chadwick said.

The Minister was speaking following her return from the 60th meeting of the IWC in Chile, where the Commission had agreed on a number of changes to how it functions.

“This meeting saw a marked change from the hostile atmosphere that dominated past meetings and we have definitely moved forward.

“However, with Greenland’s decision to force a divisive vote on the addition of ten humpback whales to its quota under aboriginal subsistence rules, we do feel progress has been two steps forward and one step back.

“New Zealand is confident that with the agreed changes to procedures, and the new working party, we are now on track to find solutions to the historic issues that have divided the Commission.

“But for that to happen, we must ensure that the constructive way that countries have engaged at this meeting, and the highly diplomatic approach that members have adopted, continues over the coming months.”

New Zealand made a number of statements during the week to the IWC meeting, including supporting changes to the operations of the IWC, reconfirming New Zealand’s opposition to scientific whaling, expressing concern about safety in the Southern Ocean, highlighting the benefits of whale-watching and supporting a proposal for a South Atlantic whale sanctuary.

“We will continue to advocate for the maximum protection of whales and the end of Japan’s scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean and we consider the decisions of this meeting give us much stronger tools to better protect whales.

“New Zealand’s aim was that this meeting would broker a modern way of operating to safeguard the future of the Commission. We are feeling very positive that this has been achieved.”

ENDS

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