New Zealand PM calls on ICC to oust Zimbabwe
New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has called on the International Cricket Council to expel Zimbabwe from world cricket.
"We would love to see Zimbabwe chucked out of the council ... but the chances of that happening are a little bit remote," Clark said on Tuesday.
"New Zealand is in a very small minority on the International Cricket Council, which would like to see strong action taken on Zimbabwe."
Calls for action against Zimbabwe follow the re-election of Robert Mugabe last week in what is widely seen to have been a flawed presidential election.
The New Zealand cricket team is due to tour Zimbabwe in July next year, but Clark has said her government would prefer the tour did not take place.
In 2005 Clark's government withheld visas from the Zimbabwe cricket team which was due to tour New Zealand, forcing the tour's cancellation. It did not subsequently intervene to prevent the New Zealand team playing in Zimbabwe, saying it could not lawfully withhold passports from New Zealanders traveling overseas for a lawful purpose.
Clark said New Zealand's views on Zimbabwe were echoed by Australia and England, but were still in the minority on the ICC and there was limited power to enforce sanctions.
She said her government would prefer New Zealand did not tour Zimbabwe next year but accepted it was a decision for New Zealand Cricket, which could face penalties from the ICC if the tour does not take place.
"The ICC is meeting as we speak and we are just looking at the issues around all of that at the present time, but basically we don't want to put our cricketers in a position where they might lose future tours," Clark said.
"The last time the issue arose the Government said ... we weren't prepared to legislate to take away Kiwis' rights to a New Zealand passport. In the end it's what you have to do, to physically stop cricketers going on such a tour."
England is expected to press the ICC, which meets Wednesday, to ban Zimbabwe from competing in the Twenty20 World Cup it will host next season. Further sanctions, including the expulsion of Zimbabwe from the ICC, may be discussed but are unlikely to win widespread support.