Alliance says New Zealand must take firm line on jailing of Peter Bethune

The Alliance Party says it is deeply disturbing that anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune could be jailed for up to 15 years in Japan.

Alliance Party fisheries and maritime spokesperson Trevor Hanson says it’s time for the New Zealand Government to tell Japanese authorities enough is enough.

“The whaling issue is not about to be resolved in the forthcoming world whaling conference and people of New Zealand are being quietly prepared by our National Government for a soft agreement which will allow the slaughter to continue at a lesser rate of kills.”

Mr Hanson says New Zealand has been part of all the meetings and agreements permitting the current abhorrent “scientific kill.”

He says “scientific kill” is an absolute misnomer.

“Twenty years have gone by with no reduction in the Japanese kill and the actions of New Zealand Governments during this time have all been to follow a path of diplomacy which has produced absolutely nothing.”

Mr Hanson says the Japanese Government simply don’t care and it is extremely unlikely that they will agree to any reduction in whale kill.

The New Zealand Government is too scared to take a firm line because of trade implications, he says.

“If the Government stand back and watch a New Zealand citizen jailed because of his actions against the Japanese whalers, actions supported by a majority of New Zealanders, then this Government will stand to be judged by not only New Zealanders but internationally.”