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Government has to bar Fiji Sevens team

7 December 2006

Government has to bar Fiji Sevens team

The Green Party believes the New Zealand Government should deny visas to the Fijian sevens rugby team, just as it did to the Zimbabwe cricket team that was due to visit here last year.

"The same basic issues are involved here, including the flagrant violation of democratic institutions and processes," Mr Locke says.

"The Government has the power, and the justification to act. It would be silly to have sporting and other sanctions in place, and then create exemptions for the very thing that would have the most bite - namely, sanctions against the Fiji national rugby sevens team.

"Sporting isolation for their world renowned sevens team will be the sanctions that will most wake up the Fiji military to their isolation.

"The argument that the sevens tournament is an international event over which New Zealand can exert no visa control does not stand up. The holding of international sporting events here is at our invitation, and does not require this country to be hostage to the plans of sporting bodies.

"If there are contractual commitments to the sevens event organisers, the Government should compensate the New Zealand sevens, just as if compensated New Zealand Cricket over the financial fallout from the Government's decision over its denial of visas to the Zimbabwe cricket team.

"Entertaining the Fiji sevens rugby team would be a blot on New Zealand's reputation, Denying them visas would be seen on the world stage as evidence of New Zealand's high regard for human rights.

"I am glad to see Peter Dunne has also called for denying visas to the Fiji sevens team. New Zealanders must get behind a common message - that the Fijians sevens team is not welcome in Wellington."

ENDS


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