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Key supports return to commercial whaling

Written By: - Date published: 12:23 pm, March 6th, 2010 - 46 comments
Categories: Conservation - Tags:

In January, we were told that John Key had some secret plan to end whaling. Now, we learn that Key wants to let commercial whaling resume.

Since 1986, commercial whaling has been banned by international law. Japan carries out its whaling under the guise of scientific research. Key promised that he was working on ending that too.

It was a lie.

The US and New Zealand, opposed by Australia, are backing a return to commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Morocco. The deal would be that scientific whaling is phased out and commercial whaling is allowed instead.

 No end to whaling. In fact, more legitimate whaling.

John Key has betrayed us again. He has no mandate to sell us out on whaling. The New Zealand people did not elect him to turn us into a pro-whaling nation.

I’m disgusted.

46 comments on “Key supports return to commercial whaling ”

  1. Not necessarily a bad idea. However for our image it is horrible and I am wondering if we should just start assuming Key will do the opposite of whatever his first promise was.
    My full opinion on it:

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Except the article you linked to, and your article here, is not providing the full picture of this deal.

    It is not that NZ and US are allowing commercial whaling *for no reason*. They are proposing that commercial whaling is allowed again, but at *reduced levels to what is currently being done*.

    At the moment, whales are being killed. The suggestion is that the countries can keep killing whales, but instead of calling it “scientific research”, they’re honest about it, and are forced to kill fewer whales.

    Killing fewer whales is better. The name we give to this activity (“scientific research” vs “commercial whaling”) doesn’t really matter to the conservation goals of whales in the long term.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    How is allowing commercial whaling to resume an advance.
    Sure they are lying about scientific whaling, but they are exposed as liars.

    Once you are back to commercial whaling but with supposedly a lower catch ,whats to stop them ratcheting up the catches again.

    This is the worst sort of window dressing. But then its a Key government initiative so what would you expect.

    The Japanese are playing us over this matter.

    • QoT 3.1

      Ain’t it fucking classic NACT, though? “Oh, this group of people is violating the spirit of the law for their own gain. Clearly what we should do is make their practices legal, ’cause then, um, the statistics for that crime will go down! Which is good!”

  4. It strikes me that the reinstatement of commercial whaling is the thin end of the wedge. The idea that it would be more “honest” to call “scientific” whaling commercial whaling (with fewer killed)misses the obvious point that the reinstatement of a principle allows its practice to be varied more easily.Commercial whaling, mining in the Conservation Estate, support for the Canetrburu commercial water users, weakening of the RMA – yep, this is one conservation-minded government.

  5. Pete DGeorge 5

    In January, we were told that John Key had some secret plan to end whaling.

    It was a lie.

    Who told us what, exactly? Where is the specific lie?

    The New Zealand people did not elect him to turn us into a pro-whaling nation.

    I doubt “the New Zealand people” voted much at all on the whaling issue.

    As Labour, National are finding it difficult reducing whaling levels. We have a small international voice, it’s not all up to us.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      “Who told us what, exactly? Where is the specific lie?”

      If you can’t be bothered keeping up with the news, Pete…

      “I doubt “the New Zealand people’ voted much at all on the whaling issue.”

      Yeah, so they sure as hell didn’t vote for a fundamental abrogation of our country’s position on the issue.

    • Sam 5.2

      “As Labour, National are finding it difficult reducing whaling levels. We have a small international voice, it’s not all up to us.”

      Therefore we should all just give up, go home, and make whaling legal, right?

  6. Peter dGeorge

    This has been covered before. Check out here.

    That article points to this in the Herald.

    The Government has come up with a deal to end whaling in Antarctica.

    Prime Minister John Key told a media conference this afternoon that the Government had drafted a deal that would see an end to commercial whaling over an undisclosed timeframe.

    The deal will be put on the table at the International Whaling Commission meeting, to be held later this month in Honolulu.

    Looks like a lie to me.

    Maybe Key’s proposal is to allow whales to be hunted to extinction. After the last whale is killed there will be no more whaling.

    • Pete DGeorge 6.1

      Where’s the lie? They drafted a deal hoping to stop commercial whaling, to be put to the table.

      Did they say “we promise this deal will be accepted and it will stop commercial whaling”?

      As Labour did, with a small international voice, they are trying what they can to limit whaling as much as they can. As Labour found, it involves a lot of proposing, counter proposing and deal making.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        You are right Pete

        Key did not promise that he would end whaling. He promised that he had drafted a deal which if accepted would have ended whaling. Sorry I did not read his words carefully.

        On the basis of this incident he is not a liar but he is full of s&*t and is a clown.

        Fancy raising our hopes that he had a solution.

        Can we now look forward to his deal which if accepted will solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict, solve world hunger, set the world on a carbon neutral course and cure aids?

        You are right but your post has made me realise that Key is even more of an idiot than I thought he was.

  7. Fisiani 7

    Looks like the deal is actually being brokered by Sir Geoffrey Palmer. A knight of the realm and a former Labour Prime Minister

    • Bright Red 7.1

      So what? Key’s the PM now. It’s his government that decides NZ’s position

      • Neil 7.1.1

        execpt that Palmer has been in this role for a while and these negotiations have been going on for a while. It’s not like Key came up with this idea.

        I’m not sure what I think of this but using it as an excuse for more partisan hackery is tedious.

        No govt has been all that sucessful stopping whaling. That’s because the Japanese are arseholes.

        Is this about whales or is this about another flimsey pretext to call poltical oppoents liars.

        • Marty G

          “It’s not like Key came up with this idea.”

          Key’s the PM. His official at the IWC doesn’t make up NZ policy, Key’s government does.

          It’s about Key lying about protecting the whales.

          • Neil

            have you thought about the comparative plausability of Palmer being a secret agent for the Japanse all these years just waiting for Key to come along to implement their secret whale killing plan and Palmer being a long time negotiator who now believes this plan is the best option out of lots of bad options?

            I’d say that Palmer has done far more to advance anti-whaling than any leftie activist and I really doubt he’d be implementing a plan that he personally objected to on the orders of a politician – which is what you’re implying.

            • Marty G

              I don’t give a crap about Palmer. The Government sets policy, not him.

              If the lead negotiator was someone you hadn’t heard of you wouldn’t be assuming they were acting independently of the government,

              • Neil

                Since the lead negotiator has been in the role since 2002 and is a person of known integrity then I’d say his views might well be worth paying attention to. It might even pay to read the IWC’s SWG report which gives some background to what’s happening.

                But then calling Key a liar and Palmer a puppet is much easier and much more emotionally reassuring it seems.

              • Marty G

                Palmer has no authority to determine NZ’s policy. Only the government can do that. He is a civil servant in this position, his personal views are irrelevant, he can only negiotate within the policy determined by the government. Try to understand that.

                Key is a liar. He claimed he had a plan to end whaling. In fact he is supporting allowing commercial whaling to resume.

                I’ve read the report.

              • Armchair Critic

                I’ve read the reports, acknowledge the years of experience of the lead negotiator, understand the position the government has taken but I still think it is wrong for anyone to continue with commercial whaling.
                This government seems to have backed off the anti-whaling stance, when compared to previous governments. As such, they are open to criticism from a political viewpoint, as well as from ethical, legal and economic viewpoints on whaling.

            • Neil

              I’m not necssarily agreeing with the SWG’s position. But Palmer knows what he’s talkng about and if he says that this is really the last chance to bring the whale kill numbers down then it’s an opinion well worth taking seriously.

              If the alternative is to have the number of whales killed continue to increase each year then how can the SWG’s recomendations be seen as backing down on an anti-whaling position?

              Of course commercial whaling is wrong but the problem has been the IWC has not been able to stop the numbers being killed going up. The SWG has been working for a number of years to try and deal with that failure. This is not about Key, it’s been a process of negotiated reform that predates the National govt.

              If the SWG’s recomendations lower the number of whales killed then I don’t think that dropping the charade of “scientific” whaling which is as we all know “commercial” whaling and actually calling it what it is – commercial whaling, matters a great deal.

              On the other hand listening to Peter Garret he has a point. But if you look at what he’s saying he wants an immediate end to “scientific” whaling, and then a five year phasing out of whaling- and what would that form of whaling be? commercial.

              Perhaps the Japanese will agree to that. But that looks unlikely. So what happens instead. Continued increases in numbers killed or swalling hard and making an unpleasant compromise which does mean less killed. That’s what Palmer is arguing.

              • Marty G

                “But Palmer knows what he’s talkng about and if he says that this is really the last chance to bring the whale kill numbers down then it’s an opinion well worth taking seriously.”

                Palmer’s not the one talking. He is merely a conduit for the Government’s policy. Again, if you didn’t know Palmer’s name, you wouldn’t be pretending it was the negotiator’s policy, not the government’s.

              • Neil

                Palmer was appointed by Labour, he’s not one to be told what to say, he doesn’t need the money. If he disagreed with what the SWG were recommeding he could easily walk away. I really really doubt he’s mouthing Key’s words against his will.

                From reading what he says he comes across as meaning every word.

                Why not address his argument?

                I’d say this was govt policy because that’s what Palmer recommended.

              • Marty G

                Neil. Have you suffered a head injury?

                This has nothing to do with the person who happens to be the government’s representative at the talks.

                The Government sets policy. Not its agents.

                Therefore, it is Key not his representative that is answerable for that policy.

              • Neil

                Maybe you’re not familiar with Palmer, try running through your argument replacing “Palmer” with “Clark”. Palmer would not be saying anything he did not believe.

                Maybe he’s wrong. But he’s been there since 2002 and watched as the IWC could not stop the number of whales being killed each year go up. He’s not talking like he is out of frustration and dispear. This is an ugly last chance.

                To reduce this to Key’s lying trivialises the whole issue. Credible liberals are saying the IWC is in trouble.

              • Neil

                Maybe you’re not familiar with Palmer, try running through your argument replacing “Palmer” with “Clark”. Palmer would not be saying anything he did not believe.

                Maybe he’s wrong. But he’s been there since 2002 and watched as the IWC could not stop the number of whales being killed each year go up. He’s talking like he is out of frustration and dispear. This is an ugly last chance.

                To reduce this to “Key’s lying” trivialises the whole issue. Credible liberals are saying the IWC is in trouble. Obama is backing this.

              • Neil

                that’s –

                He’s talking like he is out of frustration and dispare. This is an ugly last chance.

  8. I think the trouble John Key has, is when he puts his brain on the charger at night, it is erasing his past memories resets at zero.
    The other problem with Key is he does not have an actual vision for NZ. He set a goal to be PM, not a leader and now that everything is turning to Sh*t he has no principled ground from which to work.
    I predicted 12 months ago that this would be his downfall and as yet he has done nothing to change my mind.
    Key has no control over his ministers, Big Gerry is just kick8ing sand in his face as he did to Brash, it short he does not have a clue.

  9. RedLogix 9

    Of course these Tory Nats want to legitimise commercial whaling…they’re a pack of predators and they cannot deny their instincts.

  10. Janice 10

    There is money to be made and once there is more investment in commercial whaling then nothing will be able to be done about it because it will have to be left to the market. Another species fished to extinction? Whale and chips anyone?

  11. Cnr Joe 11


  12. vto 12

    Do you think there would ever be a day when it is okay to eat a whale?

    (tangential to Key moronics)

    • sk 12.1

      vto, even the Japanese do not eat whale. Whale was used as a protein supplement after WWII, and prior to that was not a traditional food source. There is no justification for a return to ‘commercial’ whaling, as there is no ‘commercial’ end demand. Today whaling is just a plank to sustain Japanese exceptionalism.

      Which begs the question, what’s in it for us? The US get to keep the Marine base in Okinawa, but what do we get? Apart from supporting the US, which is a reflex for this lot . . .

      Oh, and has anyone heard what has happened to the NZ-Japanese FTA, which Key announced with great fanfare in Tokyo?

  13. despairing 13

    Would it be ok to have commercial trade of Elephant Meat? They are large mammals with very high intelligence and highly complex communication in a functioning social form.
    Is it ok to have commercial Dolphin Meat? Not so large, but still intelligent
    Why not Orca farming too?

  14. vto 14

    I mean, you know, in some parts of the world you are not allowed to eat cows for similar reasons.

    And the Japanese do keep making a good point about the aussies and their kangaroos.

    Seems to me it all drives off human emotion and tradition and other such silliness…

    • despairing 14.1

      dear vto


      • vto 14.1.1

        you said it despairing

        Redlogix has it down pat at 7.21pm below. Along those emotion and tradition lines I talk of.

    • Ari 14.2

      Survival of the species IS a consideration for many species of whale.

      Furthermore, we don’t need to distinguish between animals in the sense of them and us- if you accept that people need to eat meat, (they don’t necessarily, but that’s another story) it never has to be any meat that involves cruelty to animals to procure- and the methods for killing whales are generally quite cruel.

  15. sk 15

    The point is, there is no fundamental logic to whaling, just as there is no logic to hunting elephants, tigers, lions, wood pigeons, kiwi . .. .

    So vto. Pretty random aren’t you?

    Anyway, what intrigues me is what is in it for NZ? John Key has always been better at managing up than down, and it seems, now he is PM he is giving away stuff for free (Afghanistan, whales) – just to be a good guy. But sucking up to the Japanese in this way does not further NZ’s interests. So why are we doing it?

  16. Bill 16

    Commercialisation of the oceans? Who’d have thunk it?

    Corporate access to whaling.
    Corporate access to F&S.

  17. JD 17

    “Of course these Tory Nats want to legitimise commercial whaling they’re a pack of predators and they cannot deny their instincts.”

    Couldn’t find a link to this on their website. Does it exist as official policy or are you making shit up again. I see it comments like this as fully consistent with the standards new tabloid style format.

    • Marty G 17.1

      um. follow the link in the post genius.

      It was also reported on National Radio yesterday that NZ was supporting the commercial whaling option.

      Of course you’re not going to find it on the National Party website. That’s just silly.

  18. RedLogix 18

    Opposition to whaling is a symbolic value issue.

    Set aside for a moment the obvious territorial and practical issues, imagine some commercial Kiwi outfit took a fleet of big diggers to the top of Mt Fuji and set about flattening off the top 50-100m or so. Imagine the outrage from the Japanese people.

    An outrage that would not be assuaged in the slightest if we turned around and said to them’ “What’s all the fuss? It’s only a pile of rocks after all.”

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