Report – By PMC news-desk.
A group of New Zealand based international non-government-organisations have grouped together to fight the NZ government over its soft approach to commercial whaling.
Greenpeace, Project Jonah, Forest and Bird, World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) issued a state on Monday March 22 stating they had formed a collaboration called Save the whales, not whaling.
The group has organised a petition that will be presented to the National-led Government urging it to rethink its soft strategy over commercial whaling and reject any deal that would legitimise commercial whaling and allow hunting to continue in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. It is seeking signatures and support from the public.
On the weekend the New Zealand Government’s envoy to the International Whaling Commission, Sir Geoffrey Palmer said the current moratorium banning commercial whaling was not working and that a new approach was required, a consensus of sorts needed to be advanced, that would see more whales killed.
For video of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, see: 3News: Whaling Debate – ‘We Can’t Stop The Killing’ – Sir Geoffrey Palmer
See also the NGO group’s statement follows:
- Save the whales not whaling: NZ NGOs launch joint campaign
The New Zealand Government’s support for a proposal that could usher in a new era of commercial whaling has met with fierce opposition from animal welfare and environmental groups.
Collaborating under the banner of ‘Save the whales, not whaling’ the groups have announced petitions calling on the Government to reject any deal that would legitimise commercial whaling and allow hunting to continue in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Earlier this month the New Zealand Government came out in support of a proposal to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) which would allow Japan, Norway and Iceland to hunt whales openly, despite a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.
The results of the petitions, both on and offline (1), will be presented to the Prime Minister John Key before New Zealand officials attend the June meeting of the IWC where a final decision on the proposal will be made.
The groups, which include Greenpeace, Project Jonah, Forest and Bird, World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) say the Government’s support of the proposal would undo decades of conservation work by Kiwis to protect whales.
Speaking on behalf of the group Bridget Vercoe, of WSPA, said New Zealand was abandoning its post as one of the staunchest defenders of whale welfare and conservation.
“At a time when the whales need us the most, the New Zealand Government is abandoning the whales and our traditional allies in whale conservation and supporting a deal that undermines the ban on commercial whaling.”
Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner Karli Thomas said that the deal could usher in a new era of commercial whaling, going against New Zealand Government policy and public opinion.
“If the New Zealand Government supports such a deal, it will not only undermine the most important international protection the whales have, but will also wipe out decades of whale conservation work by Kiwis and sabotage New Zealand’s clean, green reputation.”
Forest and Bird marine conservation advocate Kirstie Knowles warned: “By accepting that it is okay to commercially hunt whales, it then becomes an argument about how many to kill. Whales and dolphins are some of the most intelligent animals on the planet – it is not okay to hunt them.”
Philippa Brakes, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, added: “There is no guarantee that the current deal would reduce the number of whales killed in the long-term and it misses a point of principle; whaling is cruel and unnecessary”.