Tuesday 21 March 2017

NZ PM Says 'No Explanation' On US Refusal To Waive Diplomatic Immunity

Bill English

Prime Minister Bill English hasn't seen an explanation as to why the United States refused to waive immunity for one of its diplomats wanted by police.

Speaking at his regular post-Cabinet press conference, English was asked why the US had not agreed to waive immunity for the embassy staff member, thought to be named Colin White, over an incident in Lower Hutt on Sunday, March 12.

He said he "hadn't seen an explanation for that, other than the decision not to waive".

"We expect all diplomats here to obey our law, and if it is broken we would expect our police to investigate," English said.

"There are a set of procedures around how these things are dealt with diplomats. We regret they didn't give us a waiver on immunity but they didn't.

And now it is in the hands of their authorities.

"I don't think it will affect it [the US-NZ relationship] significantly. There may be some further discussion to be had, but the issue is now with the US authorities."

Asked if the decision not to waive immunity reflected a new policy under the Trump Administration, English said that was a question for US authorities and he was unable to answer it.



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