Our foreign policy is so independent not even the Government controls it!

July 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NZ likes to say we have an independent foreign policy. The last few days have made it look like foreign policy is so independent, it is even independent of the NZ Government!

It’s almost like an episode of Yes Minister. The official letter says we want him extradited, but then some diplomats say “Don’t worry about the letter, it is just pro forma”.

Fortunately for the victim of the attack, the diplomat who was changed is now being returned to New Zealand to face charges. Kudos to the Malaysian Government for this decision.

Allen himself was told nothing about the incident until last Friday, which he said was created by Mfat’s strategy of ‘‘compartmentalising’’ information to limit its spread. He said he should have been told and that Mfat’s communications policy would form part of an independent review.

This is why MFAT needs a shake up. Some sections think they are a law amongst themselves. You don’t compartmentalise information away from the Chief Executive.

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72 Responses to “Our foreign policy is so independent not even the Government controls it!”

  1. mjw (400 comments) says:

    This is a complete shambles.

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  2. fernglas (176 comments) says:

    If this is what top level civil servants do, is it any wonder my plumber is useless?

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  3. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    This case was leaked to media but have other criminal cases been swept under the diplomatic carpet?

    Vernon Small touches on possible wider problems in Buck needs to stop for Mfat’s botch-ups.

    There are some other questions that go beyond the official level too which the Government needs to address.

    Would the public ever have been informed of the “immunity waiver” without media inquiries in this and other cases?

    The signals coming out of the Beehive are “probably not”.

    These cases should routinely be disclosed because the public have a right to know when the judicial system has been thwarted by the Vienna Convention and which countries invoke immunity, and in what circumstances.

    There is no reason to shield any country from the New Zealand public’s right to judge their actions in such instances, particularly where alleged criminality has occurred against a member of the public.

    Some things are simply beyond any “diplomatic” instinct to repair and smooth relations.

    This was probably an unusually serious case, but the public and possibly our politicians simply don’t know. We should.

    There needs to be full and open disclosure from MFAT on what if any other cases involving immunity there have been. We need to know if there have been more muck ups and if there have been more cases kept secret from the public.

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  4. Manolo (14,078 comments) says:

    Some heads should roll over this magnificent show of incompetence by MFAT officials.

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  5. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    I know of another Govt Dept (not MFAT) that used to have an internal communications team of 14 people, my mate was one of them and he said it was a complete joke, the top 4 of them could have done all the work easily. He usually had his in tray cleared by morning smoko, so provided he looked busy for the supervisors he was pretty much free to work on his personal projects for the rest of the day.

    Maybe MFAT is like that? Lots of little jobsworths with time on their hands, looking for ways to be relevant and important?

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  6. Viking2 (11,574 comments) says:

    A continuation of earlier destabilization by MFAT employees who clearly don’t share the govts. line.
    A bigger clean out needed.

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  7. thePeoplesFlag (257 comments) says:

    Murray McCully has presided over the gutting of career diplomats, the collapse of morale, and the destruction of huge amounts of institutional memory at MFAT with his “reforms”. Now he is pretending this latest fiasco had nothing to do with him? Are we really to believe he is so slack as a minister he has no idea what is going on in the centralised ministry he formed after his own image?

    Lord spare me. The guy is an incompetent nincompoop and everything he touches turns to shit. Key must be furious, he was fed an inaccurate and bullshit line from a minister with no clue as to what was actually going on.

    The chances of Muzza being booted in favour of Colin Craig just went up.

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  8. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Key could not have and should not have been involved in the process. But McCully should have known what was happening and should have been able to accurately inform Key when it went public.

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  9. mjw (400 comments) says:

    Manolo: For heads to roll there would have to be an independent enquiry into the truth, with natural justice and the opportunity to put the other side of the story. Are you sure that is what the Minster wants?

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  10. jims_whare (404 comments) says:

    Maybe some leftie sympathizers looking for utu on McCully in election year – wouldn’t surprise me.

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  11. m@tt (632 comments) says:

    Key was out of the loop. I don’t see this as a problem for him but mccully has dropped the ball badly. Not being told is not an excuse, he should have been all over this. He needs to do the right thing and resign.

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  12. bringbackdemocracy (428 comments) says:

    Perhaps if McCully stepped down as the East Coast Bay’s Candidate he would have more time to devote to being the Foreign Minister.
    A Win-win solution?

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  13. CryHavoc (46 comments) says:

    I’m sorry DPF but MFAT got a shake-up. This is the result.

    Two pertinent things (to this) happened in the 2012 Allen reforms: 1) they got rid of a whole bunch of experienced corporate staff – you know, the types of people who work in Protocol Division; and 2) they replaced the weekly whole-of-ministry policy meeting with a flashily presented, wholly useless hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya intranet and weekly newsletter (which, because it is unclassified, contains absolutely no useful information).

    Result is a bunch of novices who don’t recognise political risk, and no forum for more experienced people to know about the issue and step in before it’s too late. Oh by the way each Minister’s staff used to attend the weekly meetings too.

    The buck stops with Allen, and by extension the man who hand-picked him, McCully.

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  14. nasska (11,813 comments) says:

    Political neutrality in the public service has gone. The underworked, conniving garbage that staffs departments such as MFAT spend more time as undercover agents for Labour/Greens than doing any real work.

    JK & McCully were white anted…..pure & simple.

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  15. jonnobanks (148 comments) says:

    Key’s little man McCully needs to go. Key deserves better than this. It’s a poor look for a top preforming government. It’s the type of thing Labour would do.

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  16. Nostradamus (3,433 comments) says:

    Nasska:

    The underworked, conniving garbage that staffs departments such as MFAT spend more time as undercover agents for Labour/Greens than doing any real work.

    Yes, that would explain why they have so much time to post garbage at The Standard, wouldn’t it?

    Has anyone asked Mikenmild if he works for MFAT? :)

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  17. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    This is typical of PSA-indoctrinated, Labour-loyal public servants, in this case still smarting over their lives of Riley being removed by National. Personally, I think Weasel Goff and Mumblefuck may be involved deeper than first thought.
    By the way Weasel, tell the people why you ordered a RNZAF flight to urgently uplift Clark’s husband of convenience from the US. You have a lot to say about everything of irrelevance, but cannot tell us why, when, and cost, of this indulgent affair. Does it have something to do with why Davis no longer visits the States? Awaiting your pathetic reply!

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  18. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    This is why MFAT needs a shake up. Some sections think they are a law amongst themselves.

    How could they not imagine they’re a law unto themselves, when their Minister consistently embodies that view? If the dept is to get a shake-up, the point at which said shake-up could achieve most bang for its buck would be to remove the chap who can’t discern a difference between the roles of ‘Minister’ and ‘King.’

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  19. jonnobanks (148 comments) says:

    It’s well known that McCulley is a micro manager. He let team Key down.

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  20. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    It appears that the whistle blower could have been the victim of the alleged crimes. The herald report that she has talked to Green MP Jan Logie, and somebody obviously tipped them off.

    So this looks like MFAT stuffing up at a staff level and in inadequate communications.

    And McCully should have recognised the importance of the case and insisted on being kept properly informed – if he was fully advised about the details and severity of the case.

    If McCully was misled or under-informed by MFAT then he is less at fault, but his relationship with his ministry could be a problem.

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  21. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    milky certainly dropped the ball on this one.

    Possibly deliberately to embarrass the gummint.

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  22. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    PM: This department would far better be served by private enterprise . . . there is no need to let PSA-led plebs handle affairs of national importance, they are too biased in their interpretations, disloyal, incompetent, and downright lazy.

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  23. flipper (4,228 comments) says:

    MFAT need more than a shake-up. They need a bloody good kicking, from the bottom up
    Their arrogance is often exceeded only by their stupidity.

    They are imbued with the belief that they are the elite. This largely due to the fat that many “has beens” that have returned from overseas postings are placed i sectional managerial roles. They regard their in formation as their own.

    The fact that the head of MFAT did know of the incident until last Friday is absolutely disgraceful. Yes, McCully is the Minister and John Hayes is the Parliamentary Secretary. They carry the can in Parliament. But the arrogant MFAT bastards work for us – not themselves. The dispute over restructuring is a classic case of arrogant self interest being placed above the interests of the Parliament and electors.

    I know of one instance where the use of the OIA to secure information was threatened. When that was put in writing the stupid ‘crats finally got their act together.

    There was only one thing worse about this issue – the pathetic criticisms of Key/McCully/Hayes by Shearer, Goff, Logie, Williams, et al. That was disgraceful.

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  24. Akaroa (588 comments) says:

    Ah! The gracious and elevated Ministry of Foreign Affairs!

    From military service and a three year appointment as a NZ Defence Attache in an overseas NZ Embassy, working daily with the grand MFA people, I remember them well!

    A strange breed! I won’t descend to cheap-shots and say that many of them were so far up themselves they were out of sight, but you get my drift perhaps.

    But to be fair, in my years of interaction with MFA in NZ and abroad I came across some diamonds – people who couldn’t do enough for their contacts.

    But, to balance the picture, there were plenty of others who thought they were just too good and wordly-wise to be shackled by any down-to-earth Kiwi considerations and sailed on their lofty way looking down on the mere plebs who didn’t swan from overseas Embassy to overseas Embassy in course of the years they were graciously inclined to devote to NZ’s overseas interests.

    I’m not surprised by the recent evident ‘white-anting’ of the Government by some of the the “We know best’ merchants in MFA.

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  25. mikenmild (11,777 comments) says:

    MCully’s reputation as a micro manager makes it all the more incredible that he did not ask for any further information after first being advised in May about the incident.

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  26. tvb (4,517 comments) says:

    This looks like a policy where MFAT send a form letter to the Embassy/High Commission asking for a waver of immunity (for Parking tickets etc), but then behind the scenes a more lenient approach is taken. They seem have adopted this approach on a much more serious matter. But then politics intervened which Officials do not understand. I guess the usual witch hunt will be undertaken, resignations will be demanded and accepted and the old softly softly policy on Diplomatic immunity will be changed. The whole thing is pure Sir Humphrey Appleby where Officials quietly undermine the rigours of Government policy because they “know best”.

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  27. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    @NzMorningReport

    Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says he was given incorrect advice regarding a Malaysian diplomat.

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  28. Nostradamus (3,433 comments) says:

    Pete George:

    You or someone else may be able to assist.

    I seem to recall seeing MFAT correspondence (in Scribd format) on one of the websites – yesterday I think – possibly Stuff or NZ Herald. I never got around to reading it.

    Any idea where I might find it?

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  29. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    The whole thing really reeks when Logie is involved.

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  30. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Herald here: : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11285543

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  31. Nostradamus (3,433 comments) says:

    I’ve found the correspondence.

    For those who are interested, it’s here.

    Edit: thanks Pete.

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  32. RightNow (7,012 comments) says:

    Bugger. Are we going to have to pay to put this guy on trial and possibly imprison him? Malaysia would have done a better job.

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  33. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    cry havoc

    Whatever about Allen reforms and funny touchy feely e conferences ,none of that replaces simple common sense on the part of the civil servants involved.

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  34. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    If they’re this bloody useless on the serious stuff like foreign affairs – it then makes you wonder how good they are on the trade side of things. These idiots seriously doing deals with the Chinese?

    It’s a wonder that the likes of the business round table and the Crown Law Office haven’t asked for them to be completely seperate departments. It makes reasonable sense to do so.

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  35. freemark (618 comments) says:

    As soon as I saw reports of Logie’s involvement massive red flags raised. Does anyone remember the complaint about male behaviour a couple of years ago at Eden Park by a young Green female same-sex couple? Nothing was caught on camera, no-one else in the whole crowd saw anything, but conveniently it got a few days press about evil Rugby Culture & men. Then died away…
    MFAT is a Lefty hotbed, the Left will do absolutely ANYTHING to try and discredit Key & his Govt, and don’t care who gets used in the process – the alleged victim, non-Left Public Servants, the public..especially the poor.
    It is not inconceivable that the whole episode is a set-up.

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  36. Nostalgia-NZ (5,281 comments) says:

    What does McCully mean when he says the case is ‘complex?’

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  37. Paulus (2,672 comments) says:

    He will get much better treatment here whatever than a Malaysian Military Court Marshal.
    Malaysian justice can be very cruel and military possible worse of all.
    I would leave him to them.
    But that does not help the screaming mob here.

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  38. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Pete George (22,380 comments) says:
    July 3rd, 2014 at 7:52 am

    It appears that the whistle blower could have been the victim of the alleged crimes

    When she is a victim of an attempted sexual assault, she is NOT a whistle blower! She is a victim seeking justice for a crime committed against her!

    The fact that the perpetrator was seemingly allowed to go free, and that the Government was appearing to do NOTHING about it, made it perfectly acceptable for the victim to seek assistance elsewhere.

    HAD the government been open and transparent about the affair from the beginning, which they could have done without breaching court rulings, the victim might have felt her circumstances were being addressed, and would not have needed to raise them with someone else.

    Trying to politicalise it and use it as a point scoring exercise against Logie is pathetic. If the government had done their job right in the first place and not muddled it up – there would have been no need for the victim or anyone else to ‘blow a whistle’.

    McCully needs to accept he stuffed up and fix it – the rest of you need to change your desperate underpants.

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  39. ross001 (221 comments) says:

    Fortunately for the victim of the attack

    I think you mean alleged victim…unless you’re saying we shouldn’t worry about the time-consuming trivialities of a trial.

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  40. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    I agree that the victim had every right to do something about it being kept secret and being swept out of the country.

    Logie also tried to use it as a political football. She made some valid points but went way over the top in some of her accusations. Shearer and Goff were also kicking political footballs without any consideration for the victim.

    McCully doesn’t come out of this well, but MFAT have to cop most of the blame.

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  41. Komata (1,204 comments) says:

    Akaroa

    Thanks for the observations. You would perhaps be familiar with the term ‘Heaven Born’, and the implications carried there-in. NZMFAT seems to have certain similarities….

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  42. Rich Prick (1,729 comments) says:

    Has anyone else spotted the Green’s hypocrisy, demanding the extradition of this alleged offender, yet happy to veto another alleged offender’s extradition. Their principles seem pretty *ahem* fluid.

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  43. ross001 (221 comments) says:

    Key’s little man McCully needs to go

    I suspect someone in MFAT wants Colin Craig to win East Coast Bays. :)

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  44. ross001 (221 comments) says:

    Shearer and Goff were also kicking political footballs without any consideration for the victim.

    Seems you too, Pete, suffer from the same problem as DPF…it’s alleged victim. For all we know the diplomat might be the victim.

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  45. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    RP: There is nothing lower than a Green. Even “Tojo” has more class. Maybe Slobcom would be worse, but he only has a few days and he will be “Outa here”!

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  46. ross001 (221 comments) says:

    Murray McCully has presided over the gutting of career diplomats, the collapse of morale, and the destruction of huge amounts of institutional memory at MFAT with his “reforms”.

    Well, not just McCully but the wider Government has bragged about about how they’ve slashed the number of public servants without any corresponding reduction in output.

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  47. freemark (618 comments) says:

    The more unbalanced & unhinged comments I see here from Judith & the other Left – sponsored Shills, the bigger I suspect the set-up to be. They are suddenly very convinced that the word “alleged” can be discarded. Inside knowledge perhaps? Entrapment for Political purposes? Something doesn’t ring true about the whole alleged incident…

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  48. Nick R (513 comments) says:

    I see plenty of other comments have already pointed out that MFAT has already had a shake up. Kiwiblog readers shouldn’t need reminding about how controversial that was at the time, and how widespread the fallout was. The department we have now is the department this Government has made – for better or worse.

    So my question is this: when is the Government going to start owning its cock ups? They have had nearly 6 years in charge and cannot blame anyone else for what has happened here.

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  49. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    the bigger I suspect the set-up to be.

    Yeah, but let’s face it freemark, you see conspiracy everywhere, and in everything that is different to what you believe. If it doesn’t fit within your agenda, its a conspiracy. Jeez life must be difficult for you! :cool:

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  50. David Garrett (7,563 comments) says:

    Judith at 8.41…settle down woman…you’ll blow a fuse…

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  51. MarkF (102 comments) says:

    “It’s almost like an episode of Yes Minister”

    Yes Minister was a documentary series, silly you anyone who thinks it was a comedy!

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  52. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    There was only one thing worse about this issue – the pathetic criticisms of Key/McCully/Hayes by Shearer, Goff, Logie, Williams, et al. That was disgraceful.

    Yeah, what a disgrace. The department the Minister carefully crafted for himself under a hand-picked CEO totally screws up, the whole thing is kept under wraps until the media get hold of it, the Minister then makes himself and the PM look idiots by claiming to have had no idea what his department was up to, and these unprincipled louts actually dare to criticise them for it! It’s an outrage, I tell you! An outrage!

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  53. Nookin (3,467 comments) says:

    “Trying to politicalise it and use it as a point scoring exercise against Logie is pathetic. If the government had done their job right in the first place and not muddled it up – there would have been no need for the victim or anyone else to ‘blow a whistle’.

    McCully needs to accept he stuffed up and fix it – the rest of you need to change your desperate underpants.”

    Is there an oxymoron in there somewhere?

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  54. freemark (618 comments) says:

    Judith, no I don’t see conspiracies. I see in the last few years disgusting antics by people desperate to get at or stay at the trough. Or socially engineer us backwards. I pointed out the Eden Park incident and there are others. You should be more honest about your position & purpose here.

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  55. rangitoto (251 comments) says:

    Why would they be stupid enough to request extradition from Malaysia so he comes back here to get slapped with a wet bus ticket. Much better if he faces a Malaysian military court.

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  56. Jack5 (5,167 comments) says:

    What would MFAT’s pampered, pompous prats do with a seat on the Security Council, which we would no doubt pay for with thousands more Muslim refugees?

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  57. flipper (4,228 comments) says:

    The news from Kuala Lumpur , according to The Star:
    ****
    PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian accused of sexual assault in New Zealand will return to Wellington to face charges of burglary and assault with intent to rape.

    Wisma Putra said in a statement Wednesday that Second Warrant Officer Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, a former defence staff assistant at the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington, would be sent back to assist investigations in the case.

    The decision was conveyed by Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman to his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully on Wednesday afternoon.

    “The Malaysian Government is of the view that this decision will provide an opportunity for Rizalman to cooperate and fully assist the New Zealand authorities in the on-going investigations on the allegations made against him.

    “Malaysia has complete faith in the New Zealand legal system and has full confidence that Rizalman will be given fair treatment under its law,” the statement read, adding that legal assistance would be provided by the Malaysian Government to the accused if necessary.

    Rizalman was accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman at her home in Wellington on May 9 this year.

    He reportedly followed her back to her home in Brooklyn which he broke into, where he was alleged to have assaulted her with the intent to commit rape.

    He appeared in a New Zealand court on May 10 to face charges of burglary and assault, but had since returned to Malaysia as he claimed to have diplomatic immunity.

    New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was reported as saying that his “preference” was for the accused to be tried under its laws. “

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  58. flipper (4,228 comments) says:

    Further to the above….

    Please note from above: “Malaysia has complete faith in the New Zealand legal system and has full confidence that Rizalman will be given fair treatment under its law,” the statement read, adding that legal assistance would be provided by the Malaysian Government to the accused if necessary.”

    Now that, as the Whale pointed out earlier today, raises the issue of whether the labour/green/NZ first/MSM baying for blood will shaft any trial before it gets underway. I suspect the defence will be an expensive QC, and will have a strong case.

    SHIT…thanks to labour/greens et al.

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  59. OneTrack (3,235 comments) says:

    I don’t really see what the usual suspects are trying to bash the government with around this.

    The Malaysians DID claim diplomatic immunity, which they have the right to do under the treaty New Zealand is a signatory to ( Vienna treaty?? ). We should honour the treaty, shouldn’t we? But because some MFAT underling made some sort of comment he shouldn’t have, that’s McCully’s fault? Spare me.

    I guess clutching at straws is a strategy of sorts.

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  60. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    …whether the labour/green/NZ first/MSM baying for blood will shaft any trial before it gets underway.

    That’s pretty rich, given that the government would cheerfully have left it swept under the carpet if the media hadn’t got hold of it – which seems to have had something to do with the Greens.

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  61. OneTrack (3,235 comments) says:

    mike – “MCully’s reputation as a micro manager makes it all the more incredible that he did not ask for any further information after first being advised in May about the incident.”

    Yeah, these public servants obviously need the government to hold their hand at every step of the way.

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  62. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    “which seems to have had something to do with the Greens.”

    Not sure if that’s the case. The Herald were on the story and first published in the weekend. Jan Logie said on Radio NZ this morning she was contacted by a friend of the alleged victim and spoke to her yesterday about it.

    A balance between McCully not doing enough and opposition MPs claiming too much might be about right, but too late for either.

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  63. publicwatchdog (2,824 comments) says:

    As with any accused – he/she is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. Murray McCully is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his ‘governance’ capacity, I for one, would expect him to ensure that the Rule of Law was being implemented in a proper way in terms of the operational capacity of MFAT – specifically the Public Records Act 2005? The requirement to create and maintain full and accurate records? How can you have transparency and accountability without proper written records? Also – where is the ‘organisational flow chart’ which shows the clear reporting ‘chain of command’ for diplomatic incidents such as this – which have such politically fraught consequences when there is a national and international media spotlight showing our political ‘leaders’ with their diplomatic pants around their ankles? Penny Bright

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  64. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Greens have moved on but Labour are still trying to go hammer and tongs at this and Andrew Williams could be having another go as well. Today’s question time:

    2. Hon PHIL GOFF to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in his Minister of Foreign Affairs; if so, why?

    4. DAVID SHEARER to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Did he seek any information from MFAT officials on the case of the alleged assault with the intention to rape and waiver of diplomatic immunity by the Malaysian diplomat after his initial briefing on 10 May, 2014 and before the case became public; if not, why not?

    7. ANDREW WILLIAMS to the Minister of State Services: What assurances can he give the public of the competence of senior management in the Public Service?

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  65. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Public servants are not servants of the overtaxed public, they are servants of the stinking PSA. They have no loyalty to anyone or anything, other than their own ideals of self entitlement, promoted by the likes of Little, Mumblefuck, and Weasel Goff.

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  66. Random Punter (77 comments) says:

    “This is why MFAT needs a shake up.”

    No, it’s not. As CryHavoc rightly says above, MFAT had a shake up, and this is the result. What do you and other posters here expect when senior and experienced people who know how to handle these matters are unceremoniously extruded, and New Zealand’s foreign relations are left in the hands of “managers” from the private sector and raw recruits, none of them with any experience of diplomacy?

    There is a delicious irony in McCully’s moronic reforms coming back to bite him. He’s the worst foreign minister New Zealand has had by a country mile.

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  67. tvb (4,517 comments) says:

    It is rare for Parliament to be debating a matter before the court. It is indeed possible some MPs strayed too far into the case and should have been prevented from doing so. This raises whether a fair jury trial can be undertaken. A judge alone trial may be acceptable but the accused may want a jury trial.

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  68. Bingo99 (88 comments) says:

    No one comes out of this well. And having worked within MFAT, I echo the sentiments above about them being a weird, arrogant breed, with a smattering of really decent folk. Their elitist and arrogance permeates all the way down their recruitment of newbies, and it is generally accepted in the public service that after five years MFAT staff are largely unemployable anywhere else, such is their way of thinking (linear, rigid) and their general attitude (said arrogance and elitism).

    But I’m curious, Random Punter, given this was a stuff up in process (informing superiors) and your channels of communication as a public servant (and the “no-surprises” approach) are ingrained in you from recruitment, how have the reforms contributed to this, as you claim? All they had to do was CC emails up the chain of command. They didn’t. That suggests something more than incompetence. It suggests intent. Or arrogance that they were capable of handling a very sensitive situation.

    MFAT is a hive of incompetence. Always has been. Throw in arrogance, potent mix.

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  69. calendar girl (1,270 comments) says:

    CryHavoc (40 comments) at 7:33 am.

    A very interesting observation (if that’s what it is, as opposed to hearsay or speculation). What’s the source? Or do you have direct personal knowledge? I would appreciate a steer (or a link to other ‘published’ information) on how I can corroborate what you’ve told us.

    (I’m not doubting your word, just wanting to understand how to substantiate your observation is if it’s quoted elsewhere.)

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  70. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    Allen should be gone irrespective of the fact that he wasn’t told when this was happening. His resignation should have been accepted. Add this to all the grief that MFAT has been causing with leaks, it is perfectly clear that Allen hasn’t done his job which is to sort these clowns out. The fact that this sort of thing has happened now after all that has gone before raises a reasonable prospect that these people do in fact regard themselves as a law unto themselves. That is simply intolerable in a department that should be so closely aligned to the political will of the day

    Moreover, McCully should follow him because it is quite clear from this that after jumping up and down a while ago, McCully has done absolutely nothing to make sure that his Chief Executive was delivering. If McCully was the original driver for change, which is clearly required, he needed to do a lot more than merely hand the ball to his CE. He cannot divorce himself from this outcome because Allen was the vehicle by which McCully was to effect change. This only underscores my long held perception that McCully is a pointless project and curiosity that he has survived this long. MFAT is the external face of our country and this whole business is hugely embarrassing at a diplomatic level and certainly can’t be doing our chances any good re the Security Council.

    Ordinarily I would say Key should sack him, but that might do more harm than good in the Security Council context. But I can’t see much in the way of political downside in firing him because he has been so hopeless. The East Coast Bays outcome wouldn’t be any different. One of National’s critical success factors has been Ministers sorting out problem departments – eg Ryall, Bennett and, in comparison to McCully, even Parata has down an outstanding job.

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  71. MH (817 comments) says:

    Maybe they were hoping another plane would go off the radar.

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  72. Random Punter (77 comments) says:

    “…it is generally accepted in the public service that after five years MFAT staff are largely unemployable anywhere else…”

    Au contraire, Bingo. Former diplomats have gone on to head other departments (off the top of my head I can think of Justice, Defence, Environment, Transport, and the Prime Minister’s Department), not to mention those who have gone on to distinguished careers in law (one former MFAT officer is now a judge), the private sector, and politics (Tim Groser is pretty good at what he does, I’d have thought).

    I grant you that it has had more than its share of arrogant elitists (David Cunliffe anyone?), but before Murray McCully was let loose on it, it was hardly a “hive of incompetence”.

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