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WikiLeaks cable: Pacific Islands betray NZ over whales

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

August 1, 2006
Pacific Islands betray NZ over whales


date:2006-08-01T19:17:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:06WELLINGTON600
destination:VZCZCXRO7461 RR RUEHMJ RUEHPB DE RUEHWL #0600/01 2131917
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RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0603 RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
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classification:CONFIDENTIAL
reference:06WELLINGTON406
?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000600

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND OES/OA
PACOM FOR JO1E/J2/J233/J5/SJFH...
?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000600

SIPDIS

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STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND OES/OA
PACOM FOR JO1E/J2/J233/J5/SJFHQ

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2016
TAGS: SENV, EFIS, IWC-1, PREL, ETRD, NZ, XV
SUBJECT: PACIFIC ISLANDS BETRAY NEW ZEALAND OVER WHALES

REF: WELLINGTON 406

(U) Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Katherine
B. Hadda, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

Summary
-------
1. (SBU) GNZ feels betrayed by Pacific Island countries
(PICs) that voted in support of the pro-whaling lobby at the
58th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission.
But New Zealand officials say that rather than entering into
an aid battle with the pro-whaling lobby they intend to
remain focused on the elimination of poverty in the region by
promoting good governance and building institutional
capacity. Meanwhile, GNZ is looking ahead for better IWC
outcomes, and hopes to continue cooperation with USG
officials towards that end. End summary.

2. (SBU) Poloff recently discussed with Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Trade (MFAT) officials GNZ views on whaling and
Pacific Island countries following the 58th Annual Meeting of
the International Whaling Commission (IWC), held last June in
St. Kitts and Nevis

Pacific Islands betray New Zealand
----------------------------------
3. (U) The Acting Director of MFAT's Environment Division,
Christine Bogle, said that PICs helped the pro-whaling lobby
defeat conservationists when 33 member states voted in favor
and 32 states against the St. Kitts and Nevis Declaration.
The St. Kitts declaration called for an end to the moratorium
on commercial whaling, stated that the moratorium runs
counter to the 1946 International Convention for the
Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), and accepted that whales are
consuming huge quantities of fish and threaten the food
security of coastal nations.

4. (U) While the declaration lacks force without backing by
75 percent of member states, both GNZ and the New Zealand
public felt betrayed when all six PIC members of the IWC
voted in favor of the declaration: Kiribati, Republic of the
Marshall Islands, Nauru, Republic of Palau, Solomon Islands
and Tuvalu. (FYI: NZ is currently contributing to
peacekeeping efforts in the Solomons. End FYI.) In a June
19 press release, NZ's Minister of Conservation Chris Carter
(an Assistant Commissioner to the IWC and GNZ's lead
negotiator) said that "these countries have let down their
neighbors in the Pacific, many of whom have established whale
sanctuaries to protect marine life in their waters. New
Zealand has often gone the extra mile for many of these
Pacific nations and today they have not reciprocated."

5. (SBU) All of the PICs were co-sponsors to the St. Kitts
declaration, and as a group took a strong pro-Japan position
on four other votes. The Solomons abstained on two votes
(introducing secret ballots and allowing Japanese coastal
communities to hunt whales), and Kiribati and Tuvalu each
abstained on one vote (Japanese coastal whaling and
elimination of Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, respectively).
Bogle said that leaders from four of the PICs, the Solomons,
Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru, had previously informed Carter
that they would not vote in favor of overturning the
moratorium.

6. (U) The Opposition National Party was quick to criticize
the Government, with Foreign Affairs spokesperson Murray
McCully saying that Carter should be removed as lead
negotiator, and that the "defection" of key Pacific states
was the result of a "half-hearted, insufficiently focused New
Zealand aid strategy in the Pacific." "We should be having a
very focused conversation about the International Whaling
Commission and other items as part of a total relationship
package," McCully said. New Zealand's Foreign Minister
Winston Peters countered saying that "binding aid to the
compliance of Pacific countries with the policies and
procedures of donor countries is the exact thing we are
trying to get rid of."

Future strategy toward the Pacific Islands
------------------------------------------
7. (C) MFAT has directed its overseas posts to discuss with
Pacific Island governments the outcomes of IWC, but has not

WELLINGTON 00000600 002 OF 002


received any responses to date, said Bogle. GNZ will
approach the departments of conservation in PICs and will
express its disappointment with the voting and suggest
support for conservation through whale-watching. GNZ sees
whale-watching as an important vehicle for the
pro-conservation lobby.

8. (SBU) But as Minister Peters noted, despite disappointment
over the PIC IWC votes, GNZ is not going to enter a battle of
aid with Japan and the pro-whaling community. Bogle said
NZAID priorities are focused on the elimination of poverty
through building of institutional capacity (such as primary
education) and good governance initiatives. Deputy Director
of the Pacific Division, MFAT, Marion Crawshaw agreed. She
said "we've got bigger issues with the Pacific Islands than
whales, but we will continue to raise the issue, especially
in the Solomons. We have regular contact with the Minister
of Fisheries and Marine Resources Nollen Leni as part of a
NZAID fisheries project." The project, which is intended to
strengthen the institutions around fisheries and revenue, is
part of GNZ commitment under the Regional Assistance Mission
to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) in 2006/2007, Crawshaw said.

GNZ interests going forward
---------------------------
9. (SBU) Bogle said that Japan announced in St. Kitts its
intention to host a conference for "normalization" of the IWC
(a movement toward management of commercial whaling), and
understood that Japan would provide member states with
details on the conference within a month of the St. Kitts
meeting. To date, GNZ has received no further details on the
conference, and requests that we share any information we
receive. GNZ is concerned about what the outcomes of such a
conference may be, but believes it would provide important
signals for the 59th annual meeting of the IWC in Anchorage,
Alaska next year.

10. (SBU) As work on the Revised Management Scheme (RMS)
progresses, GNZ seeks nothing weaker than existing
international provisions for managing marine mammals, such as
those provided by the Commission for the Conservation of
Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), said Bogle. She
said GNZ is pleased that U.S. Commissioner Dr. William
Hogarth has been elected as the next Chair of the IWC, and
noted that Sir Geoffrey Palmer, former New Zealand Prime
Minister and GNZ's Commissioner to the IWC, strongly
supported and lobbied on behalf of Dr. Hogarth. Bogle said
GNZ supports the renewal of the aboriginal subsistence quotas
next year, but suspects that the Japanese may try to block
renewal as bargaining leverage for the resumption of
commercial whaling.
McCormick


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