Greens draft bill to stop Zimbabwe cricket tour

The Green Party has drafted a bill to make it illegal for the New Zealand Cricket team to tour Zimbabwe.

In Wellington today Green Party co-leader Rod Donald said he was seeking cross-party support for the law which would make it an offence for any New Zealand national sporting organisation to send a team on tour to Zimbabwe.

The tour is under fire because of human rights abuses in President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe including the bulldozing of slums which has left thousands homeless.

Australia and New Zealand's governments have already joined forces to oppose the tour. The two countries' foreign ministers issued a statement this week saying they would make joint representations to the International Cricket Council urging rule changes to allow teams to cancel tours to countries where serious human rights abuses were occurring.

They also want the Group of Eight - leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States - to tackle the Zimbabwe issue during their summit at Gleneagles, near Edinburgh next week.

They want the United Nations to investigate past and present abuses in Zimbabwe and proposes that President Mugabe be referred to the International Criminal Court.

However, New Zealand Cricket has said the tour must go ahead because of the US$2 million fine the ICC would impose if it pulled out.

- NZPA, HERALD ONLINE STAFF

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