The new chairman of the Environment Select Committee at one stage suggested it would be okay to eat kiwi birds if their population was large enough, and compared commercial whaling to fishing.
The divisive views aired in 2010 came to light today following new Japanese whaling ships going back to sea earlier this month.
Nine years ago Duncan Webb, a former University of Canterbury law professor who became the Christchurch Central Labour MP in 2017 when he defeated National’s Nicky Wagner in the general election, aired some controversial views on CTV.
When asked about whaling, he suggested it was like fishing.
“If I was Japanese I’d call it harvesting, just like we do when we’re fishing,” he said then.
“The fact of the matter is we do eat animals and a whale is just a mammal.”
He objected to the use of the term slaughter when talking about whaling, saying it was “utterly emotive”.
But he didn’t stop there. He went as far as to suggest there could be circumstances where eating kiwi meat was okay.
“What’s different between a kiwi and a mallard duck. If a kiwi had such a population that it was a pest, like the pukeko is in some parts of Westland, well you’d want to kill it. And if you’re going to kill it, why not kill it and eat it,” he told CTV.
But those views are in stark contrast to the Government’s Predator Free 2050 project which aims to see thousands of kiwi birds roaming the country freely – without the threat of introduced predators.
When Newshub asked Webb if he would support killing and eating the country’s national bird if they were like pests, he refused to comment.