Wellington, New Zealand:The New Zealand cricket team will tour Zimbabwe next year unless its government orders the tour stopped, New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said on Sunday.
New Zealand is due to tour Zimbabwe in July, 2009 and faces severe penalties, including a fine up to US$2 million under the International Cricket Council's future tours regulations, if the tour does not proceed.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said this week her government opposed the tour and would like to see Zimbabwe thrown out of the ICC but would not prevent the tour from taking place.
Clark, whose government withheld visas from the Zimbabwe team scheduled to tour New Zealand in 2005, said it could not prevent its own citizens traveling overseas for any lawful purpose.
Vaughan said in the absence of a government directive not to tour, which might absolve New Zealand Cricket of responsibility for any cancellation, the 2009 tour would proceed.
"No ICC team has unilaterally pulled out because they haven't agreed with the politics of the host nation; that's always been a decision for the government of the day," Vaughan told the Sunday Star Times.
"It's a political question and requires a political solution; it's not a decision NZC should have to make.
"We are a group of cricket administrators. We might have strong feelings about the situation in Zimbabwe but judging international politics is not what we're about.
"There are other, far more qualified people to do that job, politicians for example."
The ICC voted this week to keep Zimbabwe as a member, despite pressure to expel the African nation after tainted presidential elections.
Vaughan said the New Zealand tour, still a year away, might still be affected by future events.
"There'll be another ICC conference before then; undoubtedly, a lot will change in Zimbabwe in the next year, and by that time the ICC subcommittee appointed to investigate Zimbabwe Cricket will have reported back, and we'll have a clearer idea of the situation," he said
"You never know, we might not have to make a decision. Time is on our side at the moment."