U.S. diplomat wanted by police has left NZ

Henrietta Brewer
March 20, 2017

The ministry appealed to the U.S. embassy to waive the man's immunity on the same day, but the USA government refused, and on Friday MFAT officials requested the diplomat leave New Zealand immediately.

However, New Zealand Radio reported the man - who has not been named - had left the country with a broken nose and a black eye.

He was being investigated by the police for a "serious" crime, but was shielded from the probe by diplomatic immunity.

Police wanted to question the USA diplomat in connection with an incident last Sunday night. New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) requested the embassy to waive his immunity so the investigation could go on, but the USA declined the request.

When that was refused yesterday, the ministry requested the man be removed from New Zealand.

For the goal of MFAT's policy, a serious crime is an offence for which the penalty is a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more.

"This occurred in the afternoon of Monday 13 March, in accordance with New Zealand's policy to request a waiver of immunity when Police wish to investigate allegations of serious crimes".

"The United States Government has today declined to waive the diplomat's immunity", the spokesman said yesterday.

It is believed White was involved in working alongside New Zealand's spy agency the GCSB, TVNZ reported, although this could not be confirmed.

"I was kept informed of MFAT's decision, and I am satisfied with the way the Ministry has conducted this process".

Where a waiver is refused, MFAT can ask the diplomat's government to withdraw that person.

The embassy told TVNZ: 'We take seriously any suggestion that our staff have fallen short of the high standards of conduct expected of US Government personnel'.

Diplomatic immunity, formalised in the 1961 Vienna Convention, means foreign envoys are protected from local law enforcement in the country to which they are posted.

A US Embassy spokeswoman said the embassy's policy was not to comment on matters which were under investigation.

Mr McCully said, "I note that the United States has said all allegations are always fully investigated".

Other reports by iNewsToday