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Snedden Misreads Public Mood On Cricket Tour

Snedden Misreads Public Mood On Cricket Tour

NZ Cricket CEO Martin Snedden's claim today that public opinion has swung in behind the Black Caps' tour of Zimbabwe is misguided, the Green Party says.

"I can understand why Martin Snedden wants to believe that Kiwis now support the Black Caps' tour to Zimbabwe, but the reality is exactly the opposite," Green Co-Leader Rod Donald said.

"Opposition to the tour is stronger than it has ever been, as the full horror of Mugabe's atrocities sink in.

"The impassioned plea of a white Zimbabwean woman who spoke at the rally in Auckland yesterday strengthened the resolve of everyone present to stop the tour. She thanked the people of New Zealand for standing up for her country in its hour of need and appealed to the Government to call the tour off."

Mr Donald said Martin Snedden obviously hadn't read all the opinion polls which all indicated strong opposition to the tour.

"A One News/Colmar Brunton poll published on June 30 found 77 percent of New Zealanders opposed the tour. Only 14 percent thought it should go ahead. That is overwhelming opposition to the tour.

"I believe public opinion has strengthened against the tour since that poll was taken. In the last fortnight, Mugabe's reign of terror has continued and Zimbabwean human rights campaigners Henry Olonga and Judith Todd have brought their anti-tour pleas directly to the people of New Zealand."

The Green Party is stepping up its campaign against the tour, by bringing Judith Todd to Wellington this week to meet with the public, as well as union, church and political leaders, including Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

Ms Todd, who had a private meeting with Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday, will speak at a public meeting in Wellington on Friday.

Mr Donald said the Greens would also be continuing their efforts to convince other parties in Parliament to support legislation to stop the tour.

"The Government has failed to prove that legislating to stop the tour would infringe on the right of individual New Zealanders in any way, because the Green Party's Bill has been carefully drafted so that it doesn't prevent individual Kiwis from travelling to Zimbabwe. Right-thinking New Zealanders recognise that stopping Mugabe in his tracks and not giving him the pleasure of seeing the Black Caps arriving in his country is far more important than the tour proceeding.

"We must not allow any of our sporting heroes to become pawns in Mugabe's power games."

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