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Goff calls for united front on Zimbabwe tour

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

30 June 2005

Goff calls for united front on Zimbabwe tour

Foreign Minister Phil Goff says he believes New Zealanders are overwhelmingly against playing cricket with Zimbabwe at this time, given the human rights crisis in that country.

"The tour to New Zealand in December will not proceed, because New Zealand has it within its power to stop it.

"I hope that other parties will endorse this position. In particular, I hope that National climbs off the fence and commits its support for this. Earlier statements (June 24) by Lockwood Smith and Murray McCully suggest they might not support this position.

"A strong and united front by all sides of New Zealand politics would reinforce the message to Mugabe about how this country feels about his regime and what he is inflicting on his people.

"On the question of New Zealand's cricket tour of Zimbabwe in August, it is clear the New Zealand government cannot instruct an independent sporting body and cannot and would not withhold passports.

"But the view of the government and of New Zealanders is absolutely clear – we are against the tour.

"The New Zealand government, hopefully in conjunction with other like-minded countries, will make the case as strongly as possible to the International Cricket Council that Zimbabwe should be removed from the Future Tours Programme because the human rights crisis makes it difficult and inappropriate to tour at this time.

"We are also calling on the ICC to waive financial penalties against teams where tours are cancelled because of gross human rights abuses.

"While we cannot guarantee success with the ICC, it is critical for us and others to make a stand on this issue.

"I hope that New Zealand Cricket, having regard to the strength of feeling by New Zealanders on this issue, will reassess its position and add its voice to that of their government in calling on the ICC to make the changes we are asking of it," Mr Goff said.

ENDS


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