Chris Carter’s excoriation of the Key government on whaling is rubbished by official MFAT papers showing similar negotiations when Labour was the government and Carter whaling Minister.
Sigh. Why am I not surprised.
… documents released to Pundit under the Official Information Act confirm that diplomatic talks commenced and were actively pushed on Labour’s watch, by Carter and Phil Goff, as the former Ministers of Conservation and Foreign Affairs, on terms so similar that if you blinked you’d miss the difference.
So Labour chose to undermine the NZ Government attempts to get an agreement, for petty grand standing.
The papers make plain what I expected: that New Zealand does not support resumption of commercial whaling. But they also say that, if commercial whaling was to resume, it would need to be robustly regulated and managed. Therefore, despite New Zealand’s strongly anti-whaling position, between 2005 and 2008 it was actively participating in “negotiations on a revised management scheme, which would provide a regime to govern commercial whaling if it ever resumed”.
According to an MFAT communique of July 25, 2005: “The main new development from IWC57 was the resolution agreeing to consider a high-level diplomatic conference if needed to resolve outstanding issues on an RMS … As noted by Minister Carter in comments to the media, New Zealand is prepared in principle to support the idea of a diplomatic conference …”. You remember the RMS — the revised management scheme, that would govern commercial whaling if it ever resumed.
Hmmn were there two Ministers Carter in the Labour Government?
But the best is yet to come:
A bit over six months later, Ministers had warmed up to the idea quite a lot. An email dated February 20, 2006 records: “I had a call from Chris Carter’s office … about the submission on the approach the delegation should take at the Cambridge meeting. The Minister has ticked off on all the recommendations except the one that says the delegation should not push the idea of a diplomatic conference”. A briefing to the Minister of Foreign Affairs dated February 10, 2006, annotated and signed by Phil Goff, includes this response to officials’ advice:
It is recommended that you:
3. agree that … New Zealand does not support a resumption of commercial whaling. Nonetheless, if commercial whaling were to resume, we would want it to be regulated through a strong and robust RMS … commercial whaling under an RMS would be incompatible with current scientific whaling and … an RMS needs to address this issue … [Yes]
4. agree that New Zealand should not lead calls for a diplomatic conference to discuss the future of the IWC … [No]
This is stunning. The officials recommended NZ should not lead the calls for a diplomatic conference leading to a revised management system, and Chris Carter and Phil Goff over-rode that advice to set a policy that NZ should actively push for such a conference.