Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 8. 10 June 1970
The Tour: NZUSA'S Case — Honourable Members:
The Tour: NZUSA'S Case
1. I would like first to emphasise the complete support of the New Zealand University Students Association for the efforts being made by the Halt All Racist Tours organisation (H.A.R.T.) and others to bring about the cancellation of the proposed 1970 All Black Tour. NZUSA is proud to acknowledge its close association with Hart, and since the National Chairman of Hart is now a Vice-President of NZUSA, we hope that this association will become even closer.
2. It is also clear to NZUSA that our total opposition to the Tour is the result of our rejection of all that apartheid entails. We recognise too that our opposition has matured in recent years, to the extent that we now feel no satisfaction whatsoever in the latest concessions granted by the South African Government (namely the agreement to include non-Europeans in the All Black team).
To us the question of the treatment of New Zealanders visiting South Africa is not our priority concern. Rather we are concerned with the treatment of South Africans inside their own country, especially when this treatment varies depending on the race of the person involved. This is the racism which we abhor and vehemently oppose at every opportunity. It is also the racism which we detect in the recent statement made by the South African Consul to New Zealand, Mr Philip, following his meeting with Sir Tuhi Carroll. NZUSA condemns Mr Philip's statement and we deplore his attempts to curry favour from Maori people, particularly some Maori leaders. We urge total condemnation by all New Zealanders, in practice as well as in theory, of the apartheid policies which Mr Philip represents to us in this country.
3. This committee has already heard at length several submissions in support of this petition, and I have no intention of repeating these. Generally NZUSA endorses the supporting comments that have already been made. There are two points, however, I would like to make. The first concerns the situation in South Africa. We would like to say that the weight of the evidence we have received from African students, nationalists, student leaders in South Africa, friends still living there, and (far from least) the South African Government itself, the weight of their evidence indicates the All Black Tour will effect little or no change on the practice of apartheid in South Africa. We disagree entirely that the African people in any of the countries concerned will benefit at all from having an accredited, racially-mixed, All Black team visit their country.
We would like to quote from a letter recently received from a coloured South African:
We of black and off-white skins here in South Africa are of course in agreement with any demonstration anywhere against the inhuman policy of apartheid practised so energetically, so lovingly by South Africa. Therefore we agree with the recent demonstrations in Britain, and disagree with a tour by your All Blacks, though we love rugby.
Blacks, though we love Rugby.
The way we reason is this: By not coming you help to at least show your disapproval of apartheid. You help to isolate South Africa in sport (and that does hurt them). From isolation in sport other isolations may "grow", thereby, one day, forcing a change on South Africa. By coming you show an implied approval at least, and a "we don't care" and "blow you Jack, we're alright" attitude which hurts.
You also, by coming show you are willing to enjoy the rights of free men the world over—while your black brothers are denied these rights. In the case of Maoris, this is an insult to their intelligence as, in effect, they have only been granted a temporary and superficial "permit", which would be denied them under ordinary conditions. "
Hence we feel the greatest chance for forcing peaceful change in South Africa is by imposing isolation. "No man is an island". Perhaps when the European South Africans realise that virtually the entire world condemns their political practices, practical politics will bring about a revision of their apartheid policies. At present New Zealand (and rugby) is one of South Africa's few remaining "white hopes". We dare not allow apartheid to survive on that hope.
4. Despite my emphasis on the situation in South Africa, to a certain extent what is happening outside South Africa is even more important. The international implications of New Zealand's sporting contracts with South Africa seem to have been ignored or misunderstood by the present Government. To some people, the pressures which the nations of the Third World are exerting upon those who associate with South Africa are virtual blackmail. To us, blackmail or no, these pressures represent political realities. New Zealand has now to choose between continuing relations of any sort with South Africa, and maintaining any friendship ties at all with the under-developed nations of the Third World. To choose the former is international political suicide. The sooner the New Zealand Government can appreciate this fact, the better. Although New Zealanders may know that the All Black tour is not a sign that we condone apartheid or that the New Zealand Rugby Football Union is racist, in the eyes of the Third World both of these are true if we continue this close association with South Africa.
5. What we are all asking the House of Representatives to do therefore is to make it clear to ourselves, to South Africa and to the world that this tour is not a sign of friendship between South Africa and New Zealand. Where there is injustice there can be no friendship. The New Zealand Government must make it clear to all concerned that New Zealand will have no truck with racism in South Africa. Statements before the United Nations are not enough. In our minds any suggestion that the tour has the Government's support will destroy our credibility in international circles. As our Members of Parliament we are asking you to curtail all official contacts with the tour, to publicly dissociate yourselves and the New Zealand people you represent from it, and even to recommend to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union that to continue with the tour will prejudice New Zealand's international role for some time to come.
6. To us then the choice is clear: New Zealanders have to choose between contact with South Africa and the principles our Prime Minister proclaims from time to time before the United Nations. To choose both, as we appear to be doing at present, is to compromise our effectiveness as a nation working for the issues that concern us most and should have our priority attention. To remain silent, is to opt for the status quo—a status quo which names us as one of the few friends South Africa has left. For ourselves, we condemn apartheid in politics, apartheid in sport, apartheid wherever it occurs. And we wholeheartedly agree with Bishop Gowing that, "What we think about the Rugby Tour depends on what we think about racism". The issues are clear. We are asking you to take a stand.
P.H. Grocott President: NZUSA