Q+A interviewed former Labour PM and NZ’s rep to the IWC, Sir Geoffrey Palmer:
GEOFFREY No I’m saying that’s the number of permits that are issued, the number of – they don’t always kill the number that they issue permits for, they’re killing on average over 1600 whales a year right now commercially.
GUYON So how many will be killed after this proposal should it go ahead?
GEOFFREY We don’t know because that hasn’t been negotiated yet, but unless it’s a substantial reduction it won’t be worth countries like New Zealand considering, it has to be a substantial reduction, that’s the whole purpose of this exercise.
And this is what Labour is campaigning against – a substantial reduction in whaling. They are saying best to have futile protests against whaling, rather than actually achieve a reduction.
GUYON You’re saying that the moratorium on commercial whaling won’t actually be lifted, under what grounds then will whales be killed under this proposal?
GEOFFREY They’ll be killed under an interim arrangement that for ten years there will be an ability for the Whaling Commission to function. This is one of the worst international organisations we have, it is completely dysfunctional, it is a place where there are enormous disputes. For the last two years there’s been a complicated international negotiation going on, to try and bring it together so it can work, because if it doesn’t work it will collapse, and if it collapses there’ll be nothing to protect the whales.
People don’t realise that Japan and allies are close to gaining a majority on the IWC, which would allow them to remove all barriers on whaling. That will be great for the protest movement but not so good for the whales.
GUYON This is though with all respect, a major change in New Zealand’s position on whaling. I mean we have had a staunch opposition to any form of commercial whaling and now we’re saying that we are potentially supporting a proposal that would allow that under certain grounds.
GEOFFREY We’re not saying that, we’re saying that we have to do something to fix the position of whales and make it better so fewer are killed. We’re not supporting commercial whaling, I don’t think New Zealand will ever support that. The question is how you achieve your objectives. The only other way of looking at this question is to offer to litigate at the International Court of Justice as Australia is offering to do, we regard that as a very uncertain proposition at all, and if that case were lost the situation would be worse than it is now.
Yet Chris Carter continues to misrepresent even his former Leader, on this issue by claiming NZ is supporting commercial whaling.Tags: Geoffrey Palmer, Q&A, whaling