The Labour Party has backed the New Zealand hockey team’s decision to go to India next week and participate in October’s Commonwealth Games. This is despite of a threat made against every competing country’s athletes from militant Kashmiri groups with links to Al Qaeda.
Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Chris Carter said recent terror attacks in India, including last week’s bombing in Pune, meant threats have to be taken seriously in that country.
“However we have to recognise that almost every large international gathering now has some security risks,” Chris Carter said.
“Last night I spoke to the Secretary General of India’s ruling Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, and he assured me that internal security is a key priority of India’s Government, and he believes they are making good progress in spite of last week’s attack.
“The National-Act Government will need to liaise closely with India’s Government to ensure that all security measures have been taken to keep our visitors safe.
“Naturally our athletes and visitors to India will have to make a judgement call as to whether they are prepared to travel. However Labour believes that boycotting sporting events in India this year would give the terrorists the victory they are seeking, to disrupt India’s international sports programme.”
“Labour is standing by our athletes. We want them to be safe, but we also believe that they should participate in the various sporting events that will be occurring in India this year.”