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Olonga to speak to Kiwis about stopping tour


Olonga to speak to Kiwis about stopping Zimbabwe tour

The Green Party is this week hosting Henry Olonga, Zimbabwe's first black test cricketer, in an effort to increase pressure on the Government to stop the Black Caps' tour of Zimbabwe.

Mr Olonga, who arrives in Christchurch on Tuesday, fled his home country in 2003 after wearing a black armband during a Cricket World Cup match to mourn the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.

Green Co-Leader Rod Donald, who will be taking Mr Olonga on a speaking tour of New Zealand, says the Greens are bringing Henry to New Zealand to turn up the heat on the Government to stop the tour.

"We want Henry to give the Government, NZ Cricket and the people of New Zealand the message loud and clear that the Black Caps should not be touring Zimbabwe. The Government should be doing everything in its power to get the Black Caps off the hook and needs to match its tough talk with decisive action."

Mr Olonga will speak at public meetings in Christchurch (Wednesday night), Wellington (Thursday night), and Auckland (Friday night), and will be conducting press conferences in Christchurch on Tuesday and Wednesday and Wellington on Thursday.

He will be meeting with NZ Cricket CEO Martin Snedden on Wednesday and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff on Thursday. Mr Goff will also be inviting representatives of other political parties to a cross-party meeting with Mr Olonga on Thursday.

Mr Donald said he hoped the Zimbabwean cricketer's presence in New Zealand would convert the public's opposition to the tour into increased pressure on the Government to stop it.

"Clearly the Government lacks the confidence to do the right thing. We hope Henry's visit will lead to public pressure increasing on the Government to stop the tour. When the public hears first-hand from Henry about the impact stopping the tour would have on Robert Mugabe, Kiwis will give the Government an unequivocal message that it must stop the tour."

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