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Labour: Govt 'must pressure Japanese on whalers'

Monday 10 Feb 2014 1:33 p.m.

The Shonan Maru 2 (Reuters File)

The Shonan Maru 2 (Reuters File)

By 3 News online staff

The Labour Party says more pressure needs to be put on Japanese authorities to stop its whalers entering New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

On Friday, Japanese ship the Shonan Maru 2, followed Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin into the EEZ.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has labelled the incident "deeply disrespectful".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had called the most senior representative at the Japanese Embassy in Wellington on Friday to express its "deep disappointment" Japanese whalers were entering the EEZ against the Government's wishes.

Labour's foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer says the Shonan Maru 2 entering the EEZ is a "worrying development in the confrontation that is going on in the ocean south of New Zealand".

"While I accept we have no legal right to exclude the Shonan Maru 2, Mr McCully must keep up the pressure on Tokyo. The fact that the Japanese government was aware, and appeared to sanction, the ship’s entry into New Zealand’s EEZ, when it knew of New Zealand’s continued opposition to whaling is deeply concerning," Mr Shearer says.

Mr Shearer believes making the Government's views known to the Japanese government was a "good first step".

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