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Whaling stance just another case of lip service

Whaling stance just another case of lip service

The Green Party has questioned the strength of the Government's commitment to halting Japan's annual whale slaughter after it announced the setting up of a trade working group between the two countries - just one day before the whaling fleet leaves port.

Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says New Zealand has yet again put trade ahead of environmental concerns.

"Japan's whaling fleet is to leave the port of Shimonoseki today with a target of killing 850 minke whales and 10 fin whales in Antarctic waters.

"Just yesterday Trade Minister Phil Goff announced that Japan and New Zealand had set up a working group to develop bilateral trade.

"Every time the International Whaling Commission meets our Government makes all the right noises about being appalled by Japan's continued whale slaughter, but when push comes to shove it is leaps at the first chance it gets to promote its free-trade agenda."

During last summer's whaling season, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said:

"New Zealand takes a strong anti-whaling position and will continue to do so. We have been at the forefront of international efforts to prevent whaling, working with other likeminded countries including Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, most European nations, the United States and Latin America. We intend to continue working through diplomatic and other channels to reaffirm our strong anti-whaling position and express our deep concerns to the Japanese government about the continuing slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean."

"It's time the Government lived up to those words. New Zealand had a chance to take a stand on this issue by refusing any closer trading relationships with Japan until it stops the slaughter - unfortunately the political will again appears to be lacking.

"The continued cull of these precious sea creatures must be stopped," Mrs Turei says.

ends

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