NZ MPs Care About Human Rights All Of A Sudden
NZ Politicians Care About Human Rights All Of A Sudden
By Lyndon Hood
Phil Goff today outlined the steps the Government would be taking now that they have suddenly realised that our cricket team is going to Zimbabwe.
"Naturally, we deplore Zimbabwe's human rights record and we will do everything we reasonably can to stop this situation recurring," said Goff, whose main achievement as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the opening of free trade negotiations with China.
"We must do something about this, and if our cricketers are the ones to pay the price, so be it," added Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Jim Anderton.
Anderton helped preside over four million dollars worth of trade with Zimbabwe in 2004, most of it imports. The other MP from his party recently introduced a bill which prohibited people old enough to drive, borrow from banks, do jury service and serve in the military from drinking in pubs.
Goff, who as Minister of Immigration allowed a man to be kept in solitary confinement for two years, has been able to gain cross-party support for a representation to the ICC on the issue of Zimbabwe.
Supporters included the National party. One National MP recently asked a parliamentary question demanding to know why one of Mr Goff's bills, which allows the state to seize assets on the suspicion that they are derived from the proceeds of crime, also allows these seizures to be contested in court. A second National MP has announced an immigration policy under which genuine applicants for refugee status would be sent back out on the first plane,
Another backer was United Future, a party in which every MP voted against a bill allowing state recognition of homosexual relationships.
The New Zealand First Party also supported the letter.
A long-time human rights advocate, Green MP Keith Locke, proposed the following solution to the thorny question of how to deal with NZ Cricket's commitments to the ICC: "They should be banned from going!" he explained, "And if they do go, the State should punish them! Punish, I say! Mwa ha ha!"
The Prime Minister, however, opposed such drastic measures. “It's important in a democracy that you don’t end up compromising your own values in seeking to deal with these problems,” said Ms Clark, a one-time student activist who was recently photographed chatting with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf.
This argument is most strongly upheld by ACT's Rodney Hide who, as a fervent supporter of democracy and capitalism, insists that we cannot interfere with NZ Cricket's right to bestow the tacit support of New Zealand on Zimbabwe's totalitarian regime.
The most notable political firestorm has occurred over the position taken by the Maori Party. Whether this universal indignation is due to a perception of implied apologetics for the Mugabe regime in some of Pita Sharples' comments, or due to his explicit suggestion that New Zealand should have a considered and consistent foreign policy, is not clear as of press time.