(AUKLAND, NZ) – Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully has dismissed today’s Sunday Star Times newspaper claims that leaders of the Fiji military regime are entitled to come to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup as “mischievous and plain wrong.”
He says that New Zealand has total control over who can visit this country at all times, including during the Rugby World Cup.
“New Zealand is a sovereign nation. The Government determines who is able to enter this country. Members of the Fiji military regime are currently covered by sanctions, which mean that any request for a visitor’s visa would be denied. Anyone denied a visa may apply for an exemption from the sanctions. That decision lies with the Minister of Immigration, on advice from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Under current circumstances, any such request will be denied. I have made this position clear to the IRB.
“Obviously we do not want to exclude anyone from the Rugby World Cup. But the position currently is very clear. The sanctions apply. The story in today’s Sunday Star Times newspaper is mischievous and plain wrong. It was written without seeking comment from me.
“I will continue to work towards a resolution of the issues relating to Fiji. The Rugby World Cup provides a good incentive for us to seek progress,” said Mr McCully.