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Fiji sporting ban


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister for Sport, Fitness and Leisure
Media Statement

27 November 2000


Fiji sporting ban

New Zealand will extend its ban on sporting contacts with Fiji into next year, Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Sports Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

The original ban was set in place on 12 June 2000 and was to be reviewed by 31 December 2000. A revised ban on sporting contacts will take effect on 1 January 2001.

"The ban on the issue of visas to Fiji representatives for bilateral sporting events will continue until such time as the New Zealand Government considers sufficient progress has been made in restoring constitutional and democratic government in Fiji as to warrant a change in policy.

Exemptions to the ban will apply only where the sporting event is an international or regional event where invitations are not under the control of the New Zealand host sporting body. This was the situation at the Olympic Games.

Events such as the current sevens rugby tournament and the Rugby World Cup in 2003 will be able to take place in New Zealand.

In these events, a refusal by New Zealand to issue visas to all participants would result in the event being transferred elsewhere, penalising New Zealand Sports organisations but without impact on Fiji.

"We regret that the ban on bilateral sports contact continues to be necessary and hope that democracy will be restored in Fiji, so that normal relationships can be restored", Mr Goff and Mr Mallard said.

ENDS

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