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Opponents misrepresent Zimbabwe Sanction Bill

Opponents misrepresent Zimbabwe Sporting Sanction Bill

Green Co-Leader Rod Donald is accusing National and United Future of completely misrepresenting his Zimbabwe Sporting Sanction Bill.

"I am deeply disappointed that Don Brash and Peter Dunne have been so quick to dismiss my Bill, which I believe is a viable solution to the Zimbabwe tour crisis," Mr Donald says.

"They're deliberately misrepresenting the Bill as curbing Kiwis' right to travel. That is patently not true. The Bill does not affect one bit the right of New Zealanders to travel where they want when they want. In fact, the Bill's only weakness is that it wouldn't stop a Cavaliers-style tour. It is deliberately weak so that we couldn't be accused of trying to curb Kiwis' rights to travel.

"To say that imposing a sporting sanction on Robert Mugabe unfairly curbs Kiwis' rights to play sport is like saying that imposing weapons sanctions on Saddam Hussein unfairly curbed the rights of Kiwi businesses to sell guns to the Iraqi thug.

"It is an absurd argument unbecoming of any party that seriously wishes to stop the Black Caps' tour of Zimbabwe from going ahead. While National and United Future appear willing to talk the talk on human rights, they don't seem to be willing to walk the walk.

"In any case, how can our right to play sport be more important than the right of all Zimbabweans to have a future? Their reactions to my Bill suggest that National and United Future would rather stand by and watch the freedoms of Zimbabweans being strangled than sacrifice a game of cricket."

Mr Donald says the Bill used a similar mechanism for that used to impose economic sanctions.

"The New Zealand Government has long held the power to impose economic sanctions on other countries, where it deemed them to be in our national interest. This Bill does precisely the same thing but on a sporting level.

"Just as the Government can decide that it is not in our national interest to sell bombs to Kim Jong Il, it should also have the prerogative to decide that sending sporting teams under the New Zealand flag to countries with particularly horrific human rights records sullies our international reputation and offends the basic humanity of New Zealanders."

Mr Donald says he will be seeking meetings with other party leaders today in an effort to garner support for the Bill.

"I am heartened that the Government has not dismissed the Bill out of hand and am confident that, together, we will be able to overcome any concerns it has about the current form of the legislation. I'm urging the Government to seek Crown Law and Ministry of Foreign Affairs advice on how the Bill can be strengthened so that it's ready for Parliament before the end of this recess."

Rod Donald, MP

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