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Players urged to boycott tour, invite Henry Olonga

1 July 2005

Players urged to boycott tour, invite Henry Olonga

As human rights abuses escalate in Zimbabwe, the Green Party is turning the spotlight back on the Black Caps, urging the players to withdraw from the tour and invite exiled Zimbabwean cricketers to tour New Zealand.

"The Black Caps can't fail to have been moved by the destruction the Mugabe regime has been wreaking against the poorest people of Zimbabwe in the weeks since they each decided to tour," Green Co-Leader Rod Donald said.

"I am therefore writing again to all of the players, urging them to take a moral stand against Mugabe's unconscionable behaviour by withdrawing from the tour.

"I appreciate that such a move would be at considerable personal expense, but these financial considerations are eclipsed by the incalculable cost to Zimbabweans of the Mugabe regime. It is simply not acceptable for our national side to be playing a game while outside the stadium bulldozers are destroying homes and people are dying of poverty.

"I'll also be suggesting to Phil Goff that the Government offers to compensate any players who withdraw from the tour for their lost earnings."

Mr Donald said he would be offering a creative suggestion to the players.

"How about inviting Henry Olonga and Andy Flower to lead a tour to New Zealand of a team of Zimbabwean cricketers who are exiled from their homeland because of Mugabe's oppressive regime?

"I am confident that Zimbabwe's 'Democracy XI' would be welcomed by New Zealanders with open arms.

"What's more, I believe such a tour would be a stunning financial success for NZ Cricket, earning more from ticket sales and broadcasting rights than any visit by Mugabe's national side would have."

Mr Donald said he would be writing to NZ Cricket CEO Martin Snedden with his suggestion. He would also be trying to contact Mr Snedden this weekend in order to organise a meeting to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis.

ENDS

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