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Politicians should butt out of cricket tour – ACT

Politicians should butt out of cricket tour – ACT

ACT Leader Rodney Hide said today that National and Labour were scoring cheap political points at the expense of New Zealand cricket and New Zealanders’ freedom to travel, with their chest-thumping over the Black Caps’ tour of Zimbabwe.

“The fundamental principle should be that New Zealanders live in a free country and are free to travel and play sport where they choose.

“It’s sanctimonious hypocrisy of the worst kind. The chest- thumping is done without cost to politicians and without care to the consequences for New Zealand cricket.

“The cost to New Zealand Cricket is already huge with New Zealand Cricket’s chances of co-hosting the 2011 Cricket World Cup put in doubt.

“It’s hypocritical of Labour to pontificate to cricket when Foreign Minister Phil Goff posed for cameras holding Yasser Arafat’s hand and Helen Clark welcomed Pakistan’s self- appointed President General Pervez Musharraf, who presides over a sham democracy with minimal human rights. The Labour Party line is that it’s okay for them to hang around with thugs and bullies but not for the Black Caps to play cricket.

“ACT has always opposed Mugabe’s repressive socialist regime. But we believe that it’s up to New Zealand cricket to determine who they play with – not politicians.

“ACT stands up for democracy and capitalism – we oppose the totalitarianism and socialism that we see in Zimbabwe. But that also means that we recognise the importance of freedom, including the freedom to travel and to play sport.

“The Government is proposing to legislate to enshrine individual New Zealanders freedom to travel but to undermine that by in the same bill making organised sports tours to Zimbabwe illegal. But where does that stop? Is Helen Clark going to come up with a list of “nice” countries that we are allowed to play sport with – and just which countries will be on that list?

“There’s much that’s wrong with the world, but banning the Black Caps from travelling to Zimbabwe would make for another wrong without putting anything right,” Mr Hide said.


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