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Dunne on Fiji at the Sevens

Thursday 7 December 2006

Dunne on Fiji at the Sevens

United Future leader Peter Dunne says he hopes Fiji is banned from the Rugby Sevens in Wellington in February if democratic government is not restored quickly.

Mr Dunne supports the Government's ban on sports contact with Fiji, but is worried there might be an out that allows Fiji to participate in the Sevens Tournament.

The Government's ban does not include events where international agreements require participation, and Mr Dunne suspects this might be used to allow Fiji to be part of the Sevens Tournament.

"Letting Fiji come to the Sevens on a technicality would be a cop-out," he says.

"Sevens Rugby means a lot to Fiji and being allowed to participate in the Wellington tournament will be used by the regime as recognition of its legitimacy."

"This was the Achilles heel of Labour's approach to the last coup, which was why I and others picketed Westpac Stadium at the time."

"Just as we are withholding visas from Fijian military and other personnel representing Fiji, the Government should do so for all sporting teams from Fiji until democracy is restored."

"New Zealand's response to date has been strong and positive, and I urge the Prime Minister not to compromise that by letting Fiji in through the back door to the Sevens."

"I also think there is an onus on the Rugby Union to be strong here too ? they were more than happy to enlist the Prime Minister's support in their successful 2011 World Cup bid, and now they should repay the favour by supporting the Prime Minister's efforts on Fiji by making it clear they too do not want a bar of Fiji at the Sevens," Mr Dunne says.

ENDS


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