INDEPENDENT NEWS

Briefing offer for political parties on Zimbabwe

Published: Fri 1 Jul 2005 12:52 AM
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
1 July 2005
Media statement
Briefing offer for political parties on Zimbabwe
Foreign Minister Phil Goff says New Zealand's stand against Zimbabwe's human rights abuses and the cricket tour proceeding would be helped by other parties' endorsement of this position.
Mr Goff said he was willing to brief any political party on the situation in Zimbabwe and the options available to New Zealand with regard to the tour proceeding, and their consequences.
But he has a strong message for National.
"It is simply not true for Dr Brash to say 'we've been asking for this briefing for a week'. Until this morning, no formal request at all had been made to me or to my office by National for any such briefing.
"Any such request would have been willingly responded to.
"Had Dr Brash made that request, he would have avoided yesterday's blunder of announcing that National would meet financial penalties imposed on New Zealand Cricket.
"Clearly, Dr Brash made this comment in ignorance of the fact that this would require paying money directly to the host country, Zimbabwe, and to a body of which Mugabe is patron, and which is under his control.
"Dr Brash also seems unaware that the $2.8 million is a minimum payment only and could be substantially higher than this amount, perhaps by tens of millions of dollars.
"I do, however, welcome the National Party's agreement with the government's position that a Zimbabwe national side should be stopped from coming to New Zealand in December. This contrasts sharply with what Murray McCully and Lockwood Smith were saying just a few days ago.
"I have already briefed two political parties on this issue and have made the offer to brief any party that may wish to take up this offer. I have asked my office to contact other party spokespeople in this regard," Mr Goff said.
ENDS

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