We know from leaks in MFAT that when John Key told the country that he had a plan to end whaling back in January there actually was no plan at all. It was just a stunt ahead of the expected visit by Hillary Clinton (that was called off because of the Haitian earthquake)
Chris Carter describes what happened next:
Concerned that the PM was demonstrating no real understanding of the polarised politics of whaling, officials rushed to ask Key what his proposal was. After a bit of too-ing and fro-ing the policy, apparently, Mr Key struck on was legalising limited commercial whaling. Essentially killing the endangered whales as a sop to the Japanese whaling industry might paradoxically save the whales.
…Our diplomats knew they were breaking basic principles of diplomacy (and they knew their negotiating partners knew it too); the NZ side was conceding to the vested commercial interests of Japan’s whaling industry without any concrete promise of reciprocal concessions whatsoever.
Of course, all our allies in the anti-whaling camp are aghast at this recklessness. Key’s apologists started running a desperate ‘we have to destroy the village to save it’ line.
But now things are really getting out of control. Korea has said that they want in on commercial whaling too. They say that if New Zealand wants to abandon the ban on whaling and let Japan and other whaling nations hunt on a commercial basis than there’s no justification for not allowing any other country to whale commercially too.
As Carter describes it:
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 â€˜the draft is unfair and unduly restricts the rights of other countries to sustainable use of whale resourcesâ€˜.
The risk now is that Key has permanently destroyed the status quo which, at least, has kept whaling at low levels compared to the pre-moratorium days. Even if his silly, off the cuff ‘plan’ is abandoned there’s a real danger that countries like Korea won’t settle for not being able to whale when Japan can.
This is what you get from a government that has no vision, no plan, and no understanding of complex issues.