Boy to Parliament: Save the whales

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 12:34 12/12/2013
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ

Upper Hutt schoolboy Isaac Scott, who hopes to become a marine biologist, is believed to be one of the youngest submitters to meet the Select Committee in Parliament.

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KENT BLECHYNDEN / Fairfax NZ
Isaac Scott, 12, makes his anti-whaling presentation.
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KENT BLECHYNDEN / Fairfax NZ
Labour's David Shearer listens to Isaac Scott's presentation.

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Young whale lover Isaac Scott has told politicians of the suffering of whales hunted in the Southern Ocean.

The 12-year-old appeared before Parliament's foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee today, urging the Government to do more to stop Japanese whaling.

He spent two years collecting more than 5000 signatures in a petition, and was invited to Parliament to present it.

Seated at the head of the table in front of a microphone adjusted to his height, Isaac began by describing a humpback whale and her calf being hunted and killed in waters near Antarctica.

"I am here to ask you to set an example to the rest of the world and stop whaling in the Southern Ocean," he said.

The International Whaling Commission had established the area as a whale sanctuary, but every year Japan continued to kill 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpback whales, he told the committee.

Isaac said New Zealand had led the world on many issues, and urged Parliament to do so again in standing up to Japan to put a stop to whaling.

"I ask you to stop the whaling now so we can hold our heads up high and declare to Japan that we truly care about our environment and the marine life within it."

Green MP Steffan Browning asked Isaac what he hoped the Government and Parliament would do.

Isaac said he would like them to send out naval ships to patrol the Southern Ocean and protect the whales.

National MP and committee chairman John Hayes said all New Zealand governments had opposed Japan's whaling in the Southern Ocean and had made it clear their whaling fleet was not welcome in our ports.

New Zealand was working to seek a permanent solution through diplomatic means, he said.

"I can tell you there is no space between what you would like to do and what successive governments in this country want to do as well."

Outside the committee, Isaac said more urgent action was needed.

"There may be whales getting harpooned right now. We do need to save them very, very soon," he told reporters.

Asked if he thought the politicians would listen, he said: "I hope they will."

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