All parties agree sporting boycott is just not cricket

John Key.
John Key.

The Greens may have wanted Prime Minister John Key to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka along with India and Canada, but it does not have a view on whether New Zealand teams including the Black Caps should engage in a sporting boycott.

"I wouldn't want to make a call on that unless I had heard it from people there," said MP Jan Logie, who was briefly detained during a visit to Sri Lanka last weekend to meet human rights activists.

"Nobody in Sri Lanka raised that with me as a problem and I suspect there are a lot of cricket fans there."

The New Zealand cricket team is due to play the third and last one-day international against Sir Lanka today in Dambulla, about an hour northeast of Colombo where Chogm is taking place.

Labour's human rights spokeswoman Maryan Street also drew the line at advocating sports boycotts.

"This isn't an apartheid-type issue and I wouldn't speak against them playing Sri Lanka. They are historic foes with us in cricket. What has got to happen in Sri Lanka has got to be political."

The two parties and Amnesty International are calling on Mr Key to give Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa a strong message about human rights abuses and supporting an independent inquiry into thousands of civilian deaths at the end of the civil war in 2009.

They also want him to break with convention to oppose Sri Lanka holding the chair of the Commonwealth for the next two years.

Mr Key supported a boycott of the Black Caps to Zimbabwe in 2009 on both safety grounds and on "moral grounds".

But he says there is no problem with the Black Caps playing Sri Lanka.

"There have been times we have expressed concerns about countries, Zimbabwe being one, but they've played in Sri Lanka for a long period of time," he said yesterday in Colombo.

"Hopefully they'll keep winning like they did earlier in the week."

- NZ Herald

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