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Goff's handling of Zimbabwe crisis inept

30 June 2005

Goff's handling of Zimbabwe crisis inept

The Green Party has accused Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff of completely mishandling the Zimbabwe cricket crisis.

"I'm not surprised Martin Snedden has refused to return Phil Goff's phone calls," said Green Party Co-Leader. "As far as the CEO of NZ Cricket was concerned, he left for the ICC meeting in London on the understanding that all Phil Goff wanted was for Kiwi cricketers not to shake Mugabe's hand.

"By the time Snedden arrived in London, Goff had caught up with the fact that the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders are outraged with the havoc being wreaked by the Mugabe regime.

"If Phil Goff had taken our advice in April to do everything in his power to stop the tour of Zimbabwe, he wouldn't be in the embarrassing situation he is now of being ignored by NZ Cricket. Back then, we urged the Government to work out a strategy with NZ Cricket to stop this tour from proceeding and find a legal means to get NZ Cricket out of its contract.

"Instead of taking these obvious steps, for two months Phil Goff refused to lift a finger to stop the tour. Only now, when every night television images of Mugabe destroying the lives of poor Zimbabweans are beamed into our homes, has the Foreign Affairs Minister started to talk tough.

"So far, Goff's interventions have been ineffectual because instead of taking firm action by imposing a comprehensive sporting boycott of Zimbabwe and prohibiting the Black Caps from going there, he has descended into bluff and bluster.

"The official statement of the ICC at the end of its London meeting make it absolutely clear that international cricket chiefs are totally dismissive of Goff's diplomatic hand-wringing. We urge the Government to take firm action to stop the tour before it is too late and challenge the National Party to support our stand.

"What Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe is an affront to the human values and dignity all New Zealanders share. We should be united in our opposition to his regime," Mr Donald said.


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