So, Rod Donald's bill looks to be a fizzer, with Helen Clark condemning it and other parties refusing to back it. Meanwhile, a gathering of Methodist Bishops in Johannesburg has warned that Robert Mugabe's slum-clearances are "a complete recipe for genocide" and "a tragedy of unprecedented enormity".
Criticisms of the bill as limiting the freedom of movement are misplaced. It is not freedom of movement the bill restricts, but freedom of association (which, lest it needs to be pointed out, is also affirmed in the BORA). And as I argue below, the government has an unquestionable right to limit freedom of association in this manner by imposing economic sanctions on another country. We've imposed such sanctions on human rights grounds in the past, notably on apartheid South Africa. We already bar New Zealand companies from exporting weapons and other "tools of repression" to the Mugabe regime, on the basis that he is a repressive dictator. Barring sporting contacts by recognised national representatives is just an extension of this.
But while disappointing, the failure of this bill would not be the end. We have three weeks to find a legislative solution, and Jim Anderton reportedly also has a bill in the works. Ideally, though, I'd hope that public pressure, rather than legislative action, will cause NZ Cricket to change their mind and call off the tour.