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Progressive supports call to abandon Zimbabwe tour

Progressive supports call to abandon tour to Zimbabwe

International

26 July 2005

Topic: Jim Anderton's Speeches

Progressive supported the Parliamentary motion this afternoon expressing grave concern at the ZANU-PF regime's oppression of the people of Zimbabwe and calling on the NZ Cricket Council to abandon the proposed Black Caps tour to Zimbabwe.

Jim Anderton's statement to Parliament:

The Progressive Party strongly supports this motion.

I have played cricket for much of my life, including for the Parliamentary XI over many years, and I love the game dearly.

But it is hard to think of worse circumstances in which our national team could tour Zimbabwe.

In expressing the view to the NZ and international cricket authorities that the tour to Zimbabwe should be abandoned, I am sure that the House does not wish to punish either our own cricketers or NZ Cricket – they are not the cause of Zimbabweans' miseries.

The real message from this House is in solidarity with the suffering, starving and oppressed people of Zimbabwe.

There will of course come a time of reckoning for Mugabe and for those who have assisted in his criminal actions.

Zimbabwe is suspended from the Commonwealth.

The International Criminal Court is now in place in the Hague, with jurisdiction over Crimes Against Humanity committed anywhere in the world so Robert Mugabe, and his fellow torturers, should be careful where they travel.

In the United Nations, pressure is building for some sort of collective action. In Zimbabwe itself there will come a time, we all hope it is soon, when Mugabe's dictatorship will be held to account for its crimes and abuse.

Our National Cricket Team tours under the protest of this House and the people of New Zealand. Madam Speaker, my earlier intention was for us as a Parliament to have discussed, on a non-partisan basis, whether we might agree on a legislative means to prevent this tour taking place.

That discussion proved impossible, not least because of the shortage of time to give proper parliamentary and Select Committee consideration to important issues such as the rights of New Zealanders to leave their own country.

There are lessons here about proper consultation and consensus-building processes that I hope will be learned by all who seek cross-party support on important issues like this one.

Still, the Progressive Party supports this resolution as a means of at least sending a message: We acknowledge and deplore the suffering in Zimbabwe and we want to see that the rules of international cricket allow for the cancellation of a tour to any country where there are gross human rights abuses.

ENDS

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