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Youth MP joins Conservation Minister's team

Youth MP joins Conservation Minister's team to propose whale sanctuary at IWC meeting next week

One of New Zealand's Youth MPs, 16-year old student Marama Karetai, has joined Conservation Minister Sandra Lee's team which leaves tomorrow (eds: Friday) to propose a South Pacific whale sanctuary at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting in Adelaide next week.

The Waiheke Island-based student, who commutes each day to the Senior College of New Zealand in Auckland, says she's "rapt" that she will have a chance to take part in Government efforts to "stop the slaughter of whales".

"I get upset that the killing of whales is continuing despite an international moratorium on commercial whaling," she said. "I'm not convinced when the pro-whalers argue that scientific whaling is still necessary."

"The South Pacific whale sanctuary will add to the protection that the whales need to travel safely between their breeding grounds in the pacific and their feeding grounds in the southern ocean where a sanctuary already exists."

The Minister of Conservation is leading New Zealand's largest-ever official IWC delegation, and a small staff team which includes Marama Karetai who'll be accredited to attend all sessions and also sit in on the various lobbying meetings.

She says the IWC countries should apply the same logic to whales that the United Nations applies when it steps into wars to stop ethnic cleansing.

"Whales are an intelligent lifeform, and like people in Bosnia or Ruwanda or like us, they also have a right to live," she said.

Marama Karetai says she's also looking forward to attending Youth Parliament 2000 which will be convened at Parliament Buildings in Wellington, during 28-29 August. She will be amongst 120 Youth Parliamentarians who gather from throughout New Zealand for two days of full-on involvement in all aspects of parliamentary life, including select committee hearings, Minister's question time, and legislative chamber debate.


Marama Karetai is in Wellington and can be contacted through
Fraser Folster, Press Secretary to the Minister of Conservation
04 471 9821 or 025 947 795

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