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New Zealand siding with Japan - anti-whaling activist

Monday 7 Jan 2013 9:28 a.m.

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson (Photo: Interpol)

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson (Photo: Interpol)

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By 3 News online staff

An anti-whaling activist is "shocked" the New Zealand Government appears to be siding with Japan on the contentious issue of whaling in the Southern Ocean.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson is trying to avoid being extradited to Japan after Interpol issued two red notices.

Three Sea Shepherd ships docked in New Zealand over the weekend, and crews say they were asked if Mr Watson was on board and one ship was searched for him, Fairfax reports.

However Mr Watson was not on any of them, having transferred to another ship in international waters.

Mr Watson told The Press he needed to switch ships to continue his work.

"My concern was, if I went into New Zealand I’d be detained and not be able to lead my ships down to the Southern Ocean."

He worries if he is extradited to Japan, he may never be released.

He also told the paper he was "pretty shocked" New Zealand appeared to be siding with Japan over the matter.

"From what I gather, New Zealand will comply with Japan. The Government has made its position very clear."

Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully told Fairfax that New Zealand has an obligation to notify issuing countries if someone named in an Interpol red notice enters the country.

The two red notices issued on Mr Watson are from Japan and Costa Rica. In Japan he is charged with breaking into a vessel, damage to property, obstruction of business and injury. In Costa Rica there were claims Mr Watson had threatened to kill fishermen while filming a documentary about shark finning.

Mr Watson also skipped bail in Germany last year.

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