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NZ taxpayers to fund commercial whaling

New Zealand and Australian taxpayers to fund commercial whaling

In a proposal being drawn up for the International Whaling Commission (IWC), New Zealand and Australian taxpayers may have to pay for a return to commercial whaling.

The proposal would legitimise commercial whaling and even allow hunting to continue in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Instead of following a “user pays” principle, which would see the whaling nations - Japan, Norway and Iceland - bear the cost for management and supervision of the whaling industry, under the proposal, all countries party to the International Whaling Commission will foot the bill.

“It is bad enough to try to sell this appalling deal to New Zealanders, but it’s a complete insult to ask them to pay for it as well,” said Philippa Brakes from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

The Australian Government is known to be deeply unhappy with the proposal which would include bringing back legal commercial whaling but the New Zealand Government and its IWC Commissioner, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, are promoting it.

The Australian Government has issued a counter proposal which includes phasing out whaling in the Southern Ocean over five years. Australia’s proposal has not received the support of the New Zealand Government

“The so-called compromise package, being hailed by New Zealand as a breakthrough, appears to reward whaling countries for years of ignoring the global moratorium on commercial whaling and now presents them with commercial whaling quotas tied up with a ribbon,” said Erica Martin from IFAW.

“Australians and New Zealanders are united in their opposition to commercial whaling — they will never accept this deal let alone pay for it,” said Nicola Beynon from Humane Society International.

“In their haste to resolve the impasse in the IWC, New Zealand could end up supporting a deal that in fact takes us back to the grim days of commercial whaling that drove many species to the brink of extinction last century. New Zealand must stand with its traditional whale conservation allies such as Australia if there's to be any chance of achieving a future that's good for the whales," said Greenpeace New Zealand Oceans Campaigner Karli Thomas.

Greenpeace, Humane Society International, IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare), Project Jonah, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, World Society for the Protection of Animals and Whales Alive are all calling on the New Zealand Government not to betray the anti-whaling New Zealand electorate, nor their friends in Australia, and have an urgent re-think of any compromises that will undermine their long standing opposition to commercial whaling.

Firm proposals for the new whaling deal will be put forward by 22 April to be voted on at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Morocco in June 2010.

ENDS

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