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Govt should heed Zimbabwean plea to cancel tour

Govt should heed Zimbabwean plea to cancel Black Caps tour

Prime Minister Helen Clark should heed calls from the Zimbabwean pro-democracy movement to take firm action to stop the Black Caps tour of Zimbabwe, Green Co-Leader Rod Donald says.

Welshman Ncube, the general secretary of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, said yesterday that the Black Caps' tour should be called off.

"The Zimbabwean Opposition is well placed to comment on whether a New Zealand cricket tour would help or hinder the odious Robert Mugabe," Green Co-Leader Rod Donald said. "Helen Clark should be taking Mr Ncube's comments very seriously and formally advise NZ Cricket not to tour Zimbabwe."

The 'force majeure' clause in NZ Cricket's future tours agreement with other national cricket boards allows for a tour to be called off without financial penalty if the cancellation is the result of a Government directive.

"In the same way that New Zealand responded positively to calls from pro-democracy voices in South Africa to suspend all international sporting ties until the apartheid regime was brought to an end, the Government should be acting on this request from Zimbabwe's pro-democracy movement."

Mr Donald said that Robert Mugabe's recent bulldozing of the homes of 250,000 poor Zimbabweans made the need for firm action even more urgent.

"After watching the heart-wrenching images of ordinary Zimbabweans' fragile homes being crushed like matchsticks, the whole of New Zealand would be behind the Government telling the Black Caps to pull out of the tour so as not to give Mugabe any legitimacy.

"In 1994, Helen Clark said, 'The collapse of apartheid did not occur in the 1990s without significant international pressure ... the systematic violation of human rights in South Africa was eventually taken very seriously by the international community, but it took many years, through a combination of economic and other sanctions, and diplomatic pressure, to bear fruit'. It's time for the Prime Minister to lead an international sporting boycott of Zimbabwe."

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