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Kiwis' call to declare Zimbabwe tour illegal

Govt should act on Kiwis' call to declare Zimbabwe tour illegal

The Government should act on an opinion poll published this morning showing a clear majority of New Zealanders support a law change to make the Black Caps' tour of Zimbabwe illegal, the Green Party says.

The Fairfax/AC Nielsen poll found 53 percent support for a law allowing the Government to ban New Zealand sports teams from touring countries, like Zimbabwe, that violate human rights. 41 percent of those polled opposed such a law.

"The Government should welcome this clear public support for strong, decisive action to stop the Black Caps' tour," Green Co-Leader Rod Donald said.

"Clearly Phil Goff has been worried about a public backlash to legislation declaring the Black Caps' tour illegal. It is now clear that these fears are unfounded.

"Mr Goff should stop claiming that such legislation would infringe the fundamental rights of New Zealanders. The public obviously hasn't bought his spin. We're confident that our Zimbabwe Sporting Sanction Bill is consistent with New Zealand's Bill of Rights Act. It certainly does not require the revocation of any passports and it does not prevent any individual cricketers from travelling to Zimbabwe."

Mr Goff told a newspaper on Friday that he didn't want to deprive a non-governmental organisation of its rights or withhold the passports of the players. He said, "Because we are a free country we don't place those constraints on individuals or on teams."

Mr Donald said the Foreign Affairs Minister was playing games in trying to justify his contradictory stance on sporting contact with Zimbabwe.

"He says that he doesn't want to deprive New Zealand Cricket of the right to organise a Black Caps' tour to Zimbabwe, because that's unacceptable in an open and free society. But he has already deprived New Zealand Cricket of the right to organise a series for the Black Caps to play the Zimbabwe team in New Zealand.

"Why is it that our cricketers' right to play in Zimbabwe is inalienable yet our right to play cricket with them in New Zealand is not? In truth, this human rights argument is hollow. It's just a smokescreen to divert attention from the fact that the Government has not yet had the political will to do what the majority of Kiwis want it to do: pass legislation to prevent the Black Caps' tour from going ahead."

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