US diplomat expelled from New Zealand

03 Mar, 2017

WELLINGTON (92 News) – A US diplomat has been expelled from New Zealand after the embassy refused to waive his immunity during a police investigation.

The staffer was allegedly involved in an incident on March12, but police were unable to question him after the embassy declined their request.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) asked the US to waive immunity but the US refused. MFAT asked that the man be removed from New Zealand.

All diplomatic staff working in New Zealand are immune from prosecution, thanks to the 1961 Vienna Convention.

However, New Zealand’s foreign ministry said it makes it “clear with all diplomatic missions in New Zealand that it expects foreign diplomats to abide by New Zealand law, and to waive immunity… if there are allegations of serious crimes”.

The US embassy in Wellington – which is without a permanent ambassador after President Barack Obama’s appointee was recalled by Donald Trump’s administration in January – said it did not comment on the specifics of matters under investigation.

It added: “We take seriously any suggestion that our staff have fallen short of the high standards of conduct expected of US government personnel.”