Australia is aghast over New Zealand’s sudden back-flip over whaling.
Together, our two countries have been the lynch-pins in the anti-whaling lobby for decades. The ban on commercial whaling that we won reduced the number of whales killed each year from 10,000 per year in the 1980s to less than 2,000 today. The protection we won them is helping to bring species back from the brink.
Now, the Key Government has, without public consultation or mandate, thrown decades of political consensus in the trash. They are proposing the reintroduction commercial whaling. The Nats say this will reduce the number of whales killed but no-one is buying that.
Let’s be serious here. When did the commercialisation of a resource ever lead to a reduction in its use? Once the door is open, the commercial quotas will increase. The sustainability of whale populations will be overridden because money always wins (National calls it ‘balancing our economic opportunities with our environmental responsibilities’).
The reality is that National doesn’t give a damn about conservation. It is increasing fishing quotas on already over-fished stocks. It wants to rip-up our National Parks with open-cast mines. Supporting commercial whaling is just an extension of the same mindset.
Meanwhile, there’s a strange news blackout on this in New Zealand. Despite widespread coverage internationally, only Radio New Zealand has covered it (Murray McCully was awful in his interview). One has to wonder why that is. I doubt the New Zealand people would be very supportive of a government that has suddenly abandoned our country’s long standing steadfast opposition to whaling…