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New Zealand parliament endorses legislation to make match fixing a crime

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand - New Zealand lawmakers have unanimously supported legislation which would make match fixing a criminal offence in time for next year's Cricket World Cup.

A bill providing penalties of up to seven years in prison for those who try to influence the outcome of a sports event or race passed its first reading in Parliament Thursday and could become law by the end of the year.

Justice minister Judith Collins cited the recent life ban imposed on New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent for involvement in match fixing as an indication New Zealand is not immune to corruption in sport.

Collins said "match-fixing is a growing problem internationally and has been described as the number one threat to sport."

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