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Desperate Japanese politics delays the inevitable

Desperate Japanese politics delays the inevitable, says Greenpeace

ADELAIDE/ AUCKLAND, 4 JULY 2000: The failure of a proposal from the New Zealand and Australian Governments for a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary was a short-term victory for desperate Japanese politics but did not spell the end for the proposal, Greenpeace said today.

Despite overwhelming support, 18-11, the proposal failed. The proposal needed a three quarter majority of those nations voting to be successful.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner Zac Qereqeretabua said the vote showed that there was growing support for a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary and that Greenpeace was now confident that the sanctuary would soon be a reality. He called on the Japanese Government to quit its "desperate politics" and respect the will of the nations of the South Pacific.

"We are deeply disappointed that Eastern Carribean states, in ignoring the wishes of South Pacific Islands, have allowed their vote to be bought by a country that wants to commercially hunt whales thousands of miles away from its own shores," Mr Qereqeretabua said.

"This vote should have been about conserving the remaining world's whale populations not about short-term gain. A South Pacific Whale Sanctuary would have stimulated a sustainable industry and economic independence for developing island states by providing them with a strong foundation for the emerging whale watching industry." said Qereqeretabua.

Greenpeace New Zealand Ocean Ecology Campaigner Sarah Duthie congratulated the New Zealand and Australian support of the sanctuary and said she hoped that they would bring the proposal back to next year's International Whaling Commission meeting, indicated by the Hon Sandra Lee.

"It is clear that an overwhelming number of New Zealanders and people around the world are opposed to commercial whaling and they will not be satisfied until a sanctuary in the South Pacific has been established." said Duthie

For further information please contact http://www.greenpeace.org/~oceans/iwcor call: Sarah Duthie, Greenpeace New Zealand 09-630-6317 or 025-927-301 Zac Qereqeretabua, Oceans Campaigner in Adelaide on +61-415-411-719.

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