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Greens keep pressure on for legislative solution

Greens keep pressure on for legislative solution to Zimbabwe tour

Green Co-Leader Rod Donald says he'll be continuing his efforts to win support among Parliament's other parties for a legislative solution to the Zimbabwe cricket tour crisis.

"I expect to meet again with Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff and Crown Law officials this week to try to overcome any reservations about my Zimbabwe Sporting Sanction Bill," Mr Donald says. "Another meeting of representatives from all parties is also planned where I hope we can look at legislative options for solving the Zimbabwe cricket tour crisis.

"At last night's cross-party meeting there was strong opposition to the tour proceeding. While there might be disagreements around the best form that Parliamentary intervention might take to achieve that goal, I am still hopeful that, working together, we can find a way to stop the tour."

Mr Donald said criticism of his Zimbabwe Sporting Sanction Bill as curbing Kiwis' human rights grossly misrepresented its effect. The Bill simply stops national sporting sides from playing in Zimbabwe. It does not prevent individuals from travelling to that country.

"There are already special circumstances where our Parliament has prevented New Zealand citizens from doing things overseas which are contrary to our national interest.

"For example, we have laws which prevent Kiwis from being sex tourists in Asia, from working on nuclear weaponry, or from becoming mercenaries. The idea of placing some very limited, very specific legislative limits on the activities of New Zealand private organisations and individuals overseas is nothing new, and opponents of my Bill shouldn't pretend otherwise.

"Whenever a country imposes sanctions of any kind on another, there are some things that its citizens cannot do. When New Zealand imposed economic sanctions on South Africa in the 1980s, we restricted the right of Kiwi businesses to sell their products in South Africa.

"The sporting sanctions I have proposed work in exactly the same way. They don't stop individuals from travelling to Zimbabwe, but they do say that there is one very specific thing, the sending of a national sporting side under New Zealand's flag to Zimbabwe, that will not be permitted."

While the suite of measures agreed to at the cross-party meeting last night were heartening, Mr Donald says none of them would achieve the immediate goal of stopping the Black Caps' tour.

"This is one tangible step New Zealand can take to apply pressure to Mugabe. It will be seen by the world as New Zealand standing up to Robert Mugabe's brutality. On the other hand, if we don't stand up for our principles we will be seen to be putting money before morality."

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