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Ministers form closer trans-Tasman conservation ti

Tuesday 9 September

Ministers form closer trans-Tasman conservation ties

New Zealand and Australia have a long history of working together on a range of international conservation and environmental issues and today’s visit by Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett will lead to greater trans-Tasman cooperation, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said today.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Mr Garrett to New Zealand, especially during Conservation Week, and particularly to bring him to Kaikoura to see first-hand the importance of whale-watching to the local community,” Steve Chadwick said.

Mr Garrett visits Kaikoura today as part of a three-day visit to New Zealand. He will also meet with Environment Minister Trevor Mallard and Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard.

“I met Mr Garrett in April in Australia, and again at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in June when I invited him to visit New Zealand to understand the cultural and economic significance that whale-watching has here.

“New Zealand and Australia share similar views on many environmental issues and have collaborated closely in a number of areas, including the conservation of albatrosses and petrels, to protect these wandering seabirds of the Southern Hemisphere. We also cooperate closely on the conservation of whales and dolphins in the Pacific region, and are currently working on the conservation of the three species of migratory sharks.

“Climate change is another issue that both our governments are taking very seriously, and one which will affect migratory species such as whales, seabirds and wader birds, as it is likely to impact on their migratory routes and feeding or breeding sites.”

Following the visit to Kaikoura today, Steve Chadwick will hold a bilateral meeting with Peter Garrett tomorrow to discuss joint approaches to conservation issues, including whaling.

Steve Chadwick said New Zealand will continue to pursue diplomatic methods for the conservation of whales and the meeting provided a good opportunity to consult with Australia prior to the first meeting of a working group next week, set up to consider the future of the IWC.

“New Zealand has a long and proud tradition of promoting the conservation of whales. I am pleased to have this opportunity to show Mr Garrett how our tourism industry has benefited from the protection of these marine mammals, and to discuss further trans-Tasman collaboration.”

ENDS

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