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
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
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".
Other contacts: Karli Thomas, Greenpeace New Zealand Oceans Campaigner, 021 905 582
Phil Crawford, Greenpeace New Zealand media & communications, 021 2299 594
Bridget Vercoe, World Society for the Protection of Animals, 021 448 949
Kimberly Muncaster, Project Jonah, 021 682 142
Kirstie Knowles, Forest and Bird Marine Advocate, 021 426 984
Philippa Brakes, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, 021 612 309
Notes: (1) Petitions are available from
Exp. contact date: 2010-04-22 00:00:00