New Zealand PM faults Japan over Whaling Commission vote

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The International Whaling Commission

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has accused Japan of creating a rift between Pacific Countries. She accuses Japan of influencing the voting of some member nations of the Pacific Island Forum at the International Whaling Commission by supplying vast amounts of aid to certain small pacific nations.

New Zealand provides a total of $23 million a year in aid to three of the six Pacific nations – Kiribati, the Solomons, and Tuvalu. Japan pledged approximately 45 billion yen (NZ $633 million) in aid for all Pacific nations. New Zealand's annual budget for aiding pacific nations on the other hand totals merely NZ $173 million.

Miss Clark is quoted as saying "One would hope that over time Japan might reflect on the damage this is doing to [its] relationships around the world" and that it "sprayed a lot of money around" to garner support.

The Prime Minister has ruled out any retaliation against the islands, saying it would not affect any future aid funding.