Thursday, June 30, 2005

Putting NZC on the spot

The government is finally putting NZ Cricket on the spot, asking what their position on touring would be if they were left to make a moral decision and not exposed to financial penalty. Unfortunately, NZC doesn't seem at all interested in the moral question; despite attending the recent ICC meeting, they failed to even raise the issue, and do not seem to have made any real effort to see what can be done to escape the tour. NZC CEO Martin Sneddon has avoid questions on the topic, and has not attempted to work with the government to find a solution. The implication is pretty clear: NZC doesn't give a rat's arse, and wants to tour regardless of how many people Mugabe is making homeless and how many children are being run over by bulldozers. However, they're also aware that actually fronting up and saying so will cost them - hence the silence.

If we want to change NZC's minds, we need to make them care. One way of doing this is targetting their sponsors, and getting them to apply pressure on our behalf. This is already bearing fruit, with the National Bank demanding an urgent meeting with NZC to discuss the tour. As the Black Caps' chief sponsor, they have a considerable financial stick to wield, and I doubt that they want their good name tarnished by association with the Mugabe regime (as it almost certainly will be if they sponsor a tour to Zimbabwe).

As for the government, while phrased in the context of funding a court challenge to the ICC's rules, it seems that they're slowly moving towards paying the ICC's fine. Some of that fine would almost certainly go to Mugabe, but given the number of people coming forward and publicly offering to chip in regardless, it's clear where the public stands. The amount involved - $2.8 million plus possible media rights - is chump change, and people certainly seem willing to pay it. At this stage, an offer to pay would put NZC on the spot, and make it perfectly clear that there is no financial pressure for a tour, and that if the Black Caps go, they go by choice rather than necessity.


I think its got to the stage where full economic sanctions against Zimbabwe are justified. It would be reasonable to legislate banning *all* trade in goods and services (including professional sporting tours, but excluding humanitarian aid) between NZ & Zim.

This would not infringe the human rights of the cricketers - they would be perfectly free to visit Zim and play local kids on an unpaid basis if they want to - just not engage in a commercial tour, any profits from which are likely to go to the Mugabe regime.

Posted by Rich : 6/30/2005 10:31:00 AM

I wrote a letter to the sponsors which people are welcome to steal/alter/whatever
Good on ya for suggesting this action.

Posted by Kakariki : 6/30/2005 10:34:00 AM

Rich: I agree. The government has an unquestionable right to impose such sanctions, and they certainly seem justified in this case.

The Labour government usually objects to economic sanctions as a "blunt instrument", but we have so little trade with Zimbabwe (less than $1 million a year) that that's not much of an issue. The cricketers are likely to be the major affected party. And if we are concerned about the impact on the people of Zimbabwe, we can always increase aid (through neutral agencies or the World Food Program) to compensate.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/30/2005 10:53:00 AM

I asked their position on the tour and got ....

As a sponsor we are not happy with this situation but we can not comment
further until we have met with NZ Cricket on their return from the UK.

Cynthia Brophy

Posted by Anonymous : 6/30/2005 11:41:00 AM

You are all a pack of self serving leeches. Why wait to use the cricket team to be you're carriers?
If you wanted to prove you aren't a pack of self serving nit wits you should have come up with a better idea then to use the poor Zimbabwe cricketers as political puppets! Shame on you all.If this is all you can muster then god help Zimbabwe.

What other ideas have you guys had to help Zimbabwe?
"oh nothing really we just like to jump on the back of sportsmen and ride their fame to make our point"

Oh so you havent had any ideas?
"nah we were going to have a rally but we used all our strength protesting America....Mugabe isn't as bad as Bush"

Posted by Anonymous : 6/30/2005 01:10:00 PM

Anon: I suspect that if people held a rally against Mugabe, you'd be just as dismissive of its effectiveness. And where would we hold it? The nearest Zimbabwean representative is in Canberra.

As for stronger action, there's not a lot that can actually be done. The government has supported chucking Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth (which resulted in Mugabe leaving in a huff). They've given refuge to Zimbabweans fleeing oppression. They have joined the EU in barring travel by high-ranking members of the regime. They have not imposed general economic sanctions - no-one has - but there's practically no trade between Zimbabwe and New Zealand anyway, so it would make bugger-all difference.

Bluntly, the best we can do is show our moral disapproval for this pariah regime in every way we can. And not playing cricket with them is one way of doing that. At best, it will piss Mugabe off. But that seems like a worthy goal in itself.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/30/2005 01:40:00 PM

"but there's practically no trade between Zimbabwe and New Zealand anyway, so it would make bugger-all difference".... And cricket will?

Posted by Anonymous : 6/30/2005 11:50:00 PM

I feel very uncomfortable using the services of the National Bank when I know it sponsors a sports team that is at the beck and call of Zimbabwe's murderous gangsters and thugs. If financial penalties are the reason the tour can't be cancelled then its time those same penalties were applied to the sponsors by the people of New Zealand to make big business learn the meaning of ethical sponsoship.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/16/2005 10:06:00 PM