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Help For NZRFU Must Not Cost Others

Help For NZRFU Must Not Cost Others

Any provision made to enable the New Zealand Rugby Football Union to protect its stylised fern symbol must not come at a cost to any other code or brand, ACT Sports Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"While ACT understands the rugby union's position, we will not support any law change that may prove unfairly discriminatory to other codes or brands," Mr Franks said.

"If the NZRFU gets to use the Statutes Amendment Bill to safeguard its brand, they cannot expect ACT to wave consideration for others. While the rest of Parliament may be willing to roll over in fear of the NZRFU, ACT will first insist on answers about adverse effects before lending its support.

"We have proposed a repair to the Trademarks Act, passed a fortnight ago while the Hon Judith Tizard was knitting, and would support that partial fix immediately," Mr Franks said.

"We think improvements to the rugby union's amendment that we've requested could also safeguard most other interests, but will wait to see the drafting before saying yes. People who use fern-style marks or have names that seem to have come from the All Blacks think they might be adversely affected, they should contact ACT immediately, if we are the only party insisting on a close look at a law change that cannot be debated. We will stand our ground if persuaded there are real interests at risk.

"On the other hand, we will not impede protection for national symbols out of spite. The Government has just deprived other trademark owners of long-standing rights through the new powers to cancel marks without compensation where they've gone into general public use, or if Maori claim they are offended. Those effects of last month's legislation are no reason to deprive the All Blacks of help - even if they are receiving a privilege," Mr Franks said.

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