Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"No power"

The New Zealand government has imposed more sanctions on Fiji in response to the coup - including a ban on sporting contacts. However, the ban isn't total; according to the Three News report [video],

Fiji will play at the Wellington international sevens in February. New Zealand has no power to ban any team because its an international tournament.

This is, to put it politely, bullshit. The New Zealand government has the power under the Immigration Act to deny entry to undesirables; the granting of a visa or entry permit is a matter of Ministerial discretion and may be denied. The government used these powers last year, to deny entry to the Zimbabwean cricket team in protest over their government's activities. The government is not helpless in this case; it has chosen not to act. Whether that is the right choice is a matter for debate, but we should not accept them making it and then trying to hide the fact by pretending that their hands are tied.


Or in plain English "we don't want to lose our hosting rights for the rugby and cricket world cups."

Its amazing how quickly principles go out the window when there are serious amounts of cash and sport involved. Although having said that, if we banned their team the consequences for Bananarama would be minimal while the consequences for our economy would be huge.

I guess its a matter of us choosing the best way to get the message across. That means chosing sanctions that hurt the new regime but which don't hurt the fijian people (not to mention ourselves) in the process.

What the government shouldn't do is pull the wool over the public's eyes and make up some bullshit story about being unable to ban international teams.

Posted by Michael : 12/06/2006 09:07:00 PM

It's not quite so black and white; they have the legal power, yes, but they've agreed that they will always allow competing teams to enter the country for the tournament - it's part of the deal to get it.

Of course the Government has the legal power to do anything it wants provided it can muster the votes in the House, but it has to look at agreements it has made to see whether it genuinely can.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/06/2006 09:09:00 PM

It would seem the people aren't smart enough to understand trade offs. So you make up some bullshit excuse to not do things you know will have concequences you would be punished for by the electorate.

Posted by Genius : 12/06/2006 09:25:00 PM

"Its amazing how quickly principles go out the window when there are serious amounts of cash and sport involved."

Too true.

But again sport seems too important (and Fiji are awfully good at sevens after all).

If we are going to take a stand, then lets take a bloody stand (against anti-democratic crap in both Fiji and Tonga). Not being able to compete in the sevens will actually damage the coup leaders in the eyes of their nation, whereas recognising their legitimacy ensures motivation for another five or so coups in the next 20 years.

Clearly our short term gain in terms of finance and entertainment outweighs any ambition for long term stability in the south pacific, at least in the eyes of our Govt.

Posted by james cairney : 12/06/2006 09:58:00 PM

It would, of course, be best to get Fiji thrown out of the sevens completely - kill two birds with one stone.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/06/2006 10:01:00 PM

The dumb thing is that they're our biggest opposition to winning the sevens. Them and the Sud Afrikans...

Posted by Lewis Holden : 12/07/2006 12:19:00 PM

Did you hear Helen Clark on Morning Report this am? She was asked about a photo showing one of the members of the Fiji Sevens team in army uniform standing guard outside Qarese's vacant house.

To which she responded that if he was a member of the military he would probably get caught in the travel ban anyway.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/07/2006 12:32:00 PM

Helen Clark said "the ban on sporting contacts would apply at all levels unless international sporting and legal obligations require otherwise"
i.e the ban applies at all levels except most levels... nice

If our govt bans the Fijian player/ soldier (or all the other individual members of the team) then they havent banned the team and wont breach whatever onerous contract they entered to get the tournament

Posted by Anonymous : 12/08/2006 03:40:00 PM

There must be a penalty for breaching contract and banning the Fijians, so just get the taxpayer to front up like we had to front to NZ Cricket with the penalty $ when they canned the Zimbabwe tour.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/08/2006 03:50:00 PM