Key’s Whaling Plan Going Nowhere

Published: Sun 11 Apr 2010 01:44 PM
Key’s Whaling Plan Going Nowhere
Korea’s demand to be allowed the option of whaling if Japan is granted the right to limited commercial whaling, Japan’s vehement insistence that it will never give up whaling, and Australia’s condemnation of New Zealand’s proposal appear to have sunk Prime Minister John Key’s grand plan to end Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, Labour’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Chris Carter says.
A number of nations in the whaling debate submitted comments to the International Whaling Commission last week. The plan, first proposed and now championed by New Zealand, would allow Japan, Norway and Iceland to legally hunt whales, breaking the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.
Chris Carter said this plan appears to be the “initiative“, announced by John Key in early January, that was designed to stop Japan’s use of a scientific loophole to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
“I am glad that John Key’s flawed plan appears to be dead in the water. It had two major liabilities --- the precedent issue and the damage it does to New Zealand’s 100% pure brand,” Chris Carter said.
“The Koreans have responded to the New Zealand Plan by saying in unusually strong language that they are very opposed to restricting the right to hunt whales to just Japan, Norway and Iceland. Korea’s written response states that ‘the draft is unfair and unduly restricts the rights of other countries to sustainable use of whale resources‘.
“The Korean reaction to Mr Key’s proposal is tangible proof that by lifting the 1986 moratorium the New Zealand plan would allow any other nation, not currently whaling, to argue it should have the same rights as Japan, Iceland or Norway to hunt endangered whale species.”
Chris Carter said Japan has reacted to the New Zealand proposal by saying whaling is part of its culture and has deplored the idea that other nations sought an end to whaling. “The Japanese response made it clear that a key part of the New Zealand proposal, that whaling nations ultimately cease whaling, is simply not acceptable to the Japanese.
“I would have thought Mr Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully would have engaged in a bit of quiet diplomacy first in order to determine whether there was any chance of success before proposing what has proved to be an unviable plan.
“It doesn’t seem a very good way to conduct international negotiations. We have made a major concession, offering to allow limited commercial whaling, and got nothing in return. Even allies like Australia have described the plan as ‘well short of a result that Australia could accept’, in the words of its commissioner to the IWC Donna Petrachenko.”
Chris Carter said Mr Key’s plan had damaged our clean green image. “Coupled with recent proposals to mine in National Parks and the condemnation we received from international conservation NGOs for accepting an increase in catch quota for endangered blue fin tuna, the whaling proposal is another damaging blow to our international image as a responsible conservation minded country.
“John Key is also Minister of Tourism and I would have thought he of all people would understand the value of our 100% pure brand.”

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