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Govt to consider legal action against Japanese whaling

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Murray McCully
Murray McCully

Auckland, May 31 NZPA - The Government will consider joining Australia's international legal action against Japanese whaling, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says.

Australia announced last week it was taking a case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a bid to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean.

The Government's reaction was that it would not join the initiative until diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement through the International Whaling Commission (IWC) were extinguished.

Mr McCully said today the Government's consistent view had been that it wanted a diplomatic solution, and he had been disappointed when the IWC filed a report that was unacceptable to New Zealand.

"I've been exploring whether we can move some distance from that but the option of filing to the ICJ is something that we'll consider over the next week or two," he said at a press conference also attended by Australian Foreign Minister Steven Smith.

"I think we've both got very similar pathways here but we're on different timetables."

Mr Smith said there was a very close and strong working arrangement between the two governments.

"Mr McCully and I speak about this matter on a regular basis, and I spoke to him in advance of our decision being made public," he said.

"We didn't want New Zealand surprised about this matter."

Mr Smith said his government would continue to engage in the IWC negotiations but it didn't think significant progress was being made.

"So we are trying to achieve our objectives through legal action," he said.

"Any legal action carries with it a chance or a prospect of success.

"Equally, there can be no guarantee of success. So we are confident that the action we have taken is the best way of advancing our objective -- for Japan to cease whaling in the Southern Ocean."

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