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NZ Govt needs to act on whaling

NZ Govt needs to act on whaling after Maritime NZ report

Maritime New Zealand’s report on the collision between the Ady Gil and the Japanese whale ship Shonan Maru No. 2 in January shows the need for Government action on whaling in the Southern Ocean this summer, the Green Party said today.

“John Key’s Government needs to do more to protect whales and the New Zealand vessels and citizens working to save them,” Green Party Conservation spokesperson Kevin Hague said.

Maritime New Zealand’s report concludes that the primary responsibility for avoiding the collision lay with the Shonan Maru No. 2 as the overtaking vessel.

Furthermore, the report notes that “the evidence suggests that the master [of the Shonan Maru No. 2] intentionally chose to take a close approach to Ady Gil and not to take early and substantial action to avoid the close quarters situation.”

While the report also attributes responsibility to Pete Bethune and the Ady Gil for not taking evasive action, Mr Hague said the report’s conclusions reflected poorly on the Japanese whaling fleet and raised concerns about the upcoming whaling season in the Southern Ocean.

“Many New Zealanders, like Pete Bethune, are passionate about stopping whaling in the Southern Ocean, and some will once again take direct action to stop this barbaric practice this summer.

“John Key’s Government could be doing much more to ensure the safety of New Zealand vessels and citizens and uphold maritime law.

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“The Japanese whaling fleet are making preparations to depart within the next few weeks for the Southern Ocean to begin their annual whale hunt. This year, they plan to kill a further 935 Minke whales.

“The Green Party is calling on the Government to send an offshore patrol vessel to monitor the hunt and ensure the safety of protest vessels.

“Continued Government inaction – not joining Australia's court action, not insisting that this report came out in a timely manner, and not committing to monitoring the whale hunt – is letting down New Zealanders and our love for whales,” Mr Hague said.

ENDS

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