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Govt Should Admit It’s Wrong On Fiji Sport Contact

19 January 2001

Government Should Admit It’s Wrong On Issue Of Sporting Contacts With Fiji

The Coalition Government should refuse visas to all visiting Fijian sports teams and cultural groups as a matter of policy, says Hon Peter Dunne, leader United Future.

“Their decision to grant visas sends a message of hypocrisy and confusion to the authorities and citizens of Fiji and the international community including our closest neighbour Australia.

“It is little wonder the Australians feel somewhat let down by the inconsistency of the New Zealand Government, after all the tough talk against the thugs and criminals in Fiji who overthrew a multi-racial government in favour of a military junta run on racial grounds.

“Many New Zealanders feel personally sickened by their government’s hypocrisy ,while Indo Fijians must be wondering why New Zealand bothered to support their cause in the first place,” says Mr Dunne.

He says there is no doubt that a sports ban would have an impact on Fiji especially given the importance of rugby and rugby sevens to them.

“New Zealand has an important responsibility to send a strong message to Fijian people that the antics of their racially based government are not endorsed in any way, shape or form by her Pacific neighbours. After all Australia is prepared to take a principled stand on this issue.

“If international rugby administrators take the sevens tournament way from Australasia because Fiji cannot participate then so be it. The issue of human rights and racial equality are far more important than any game of sport or cultural event.

“If Fiji gets its house in order then it can expect to participate with New Zealand and Australia – but only then. Our Government should admit it’s wrong on this issue and backtrack fast,” says Mr Dunne.

END

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