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MP makes a stand on Chinese delegation ban

MP makes a stand on Chinese delegation ban

National MP Pansy Wong has turned down an invitation to address the Sister Cities Convention in Masterton tomorrow over the ban on the Chinese delegation.

The 40-strong delegation, which had already arrived in the country, was asked not to attend the convention because of concern about the severe acute respiratory syndrome.

"New Zealand is a fair-go country, but the decision to ask the Chinese to stay away from the convention certainly doesn't send that signal," says Mrs Wong.

"It would be hypocritical of me to deliver a speech on New Zealand's tourism potential with China when the Chinese delegation is not welcome there."

Pansy Wong says she instead intends meeting with the visitors in Auckland on Monday to discuss the importance of the relationship between China and New Zealand, and particularly the value of tourism.

"It is highly regrettable that a decision was made to ask the delegates to stay away when the theme of the convention is promoting friendship.

"It is ironic that New Zealand's ambassador to China was welcome despite having come from Beijing and travelling through Hong Kong on his way home.

"My decision not to attend is a difficult one, but I am making a stand to ensure that New Zealand's reputation of being fair is upheld," says Mrs Wong.

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