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The New Claytons Fiji Sporting Ban

27 November 2000

THE NEW CLAYTONS FIJI SPORTING BAN

The Government has redefined the sporting ban on contacts with Fiji by claiming on one hand they are extending it well into next year and on the other giving generous exemptions supposedly on the basis of the events not being under the control of the New Zealand host sporting body, says Hon Peter Dunne, leader United Future.

"This exemption today makes a mockery of the sporting ban. Does the Government really honestly think the illegal, corrupt regime in Fiji will be interested in the reasons for the exemption given. Of course they won't. They will view it as a backdown by the Government and a victory for themselves.

"As a major South Pacific power, where the rule of democracy and racial equality are issues we pride ourselves on, we should be setting an example by not allowing any Fijian sportspeople to play here while the corrupt, racist and unlawful regime prevails in Fiji.

He says the decision is even more bizarre given the recent Fiji court ruling which declared the present government unlawful.

"At a time when the international community should be giving credence to the rule of law and standing by the Indo Fijians and the traditions of democracy, the New Zealand Government is instead taking an ad-hoc approach to ensure sevens can be played.

"The issues of racial repression and crushing of democratic government surely are more important than any game of sevens.

"Effectively our Government is saying that the sporting ban is only applicable if the circumstances suit us. Pity the poor citizens of Fiji. They deserve better. New Zealand should be taking a lead on this issue by ensuring that the international sporting community agrees to ban sporting contacts with Fiji unconditionally, until such time as the situation improves there," concludes Mr Dunne.

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