Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for New Zealand

Newsline: New Zealand boosts Pacific aid by $700m, hints Australia will follow suit

New Zealand’s foreign minister has unveiled an extra $NZ700 million ($AUS654 million) in foreign aid over the next four years – largely for Pacific nations – and hinted Australia will be boosting its own spending. In a speech ahead of next week’s government budget, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced a $NZ714m ($AUS667m) increase in foreign aid spending over four years, along with about $NZ190m ($AUS177m) more for New Zealand’s diplomatic services. In a talk to a Sydney audience earlier this year, he signalled New Zealand would be “resetting” its strategy towards the Pacific by lifting spending and moving from donor-recipient relationships to partnerships.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/new-zealand-boosts-pacific-aid-by-700m

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Newsline: Defense attache allegedly hid camera at New Zealand Embassy in US

A high-ranking New Zealand military officer has been accused of hiding a camera in a bathroom at the nation’s embassy in Washington in a case that has raised unusual jurisdictional questions. Alfred Keating was a navy commodore and the embassy’s senior defense attache at the time of the incident last July. He would have been eligible to claim diplomatic immunity from being prosecuted by U.S. authorities. But the case was handled by New Zealand police, who traveled to Washington to investigate. A New Zealand judge on Friday dismissed an appeal by Keating to have his name and other personal details suppressed. Keating, who has returned to New Zealand, has been charged with attempting to make an intimate visual recording. If convicted, he faces a maximum 18 months in prison. Court documents say a camera was found in a unisex bathroom that was available for use by the 60 or so people who worked at the embassy. “It had been purposely mounted inside a heating duct unit in the bathroom, at a height and direction that captured recordings from people who arrived and used the toilet,” the documents say. The camera was discovered after it fell on the floor. It had likely been in place for many months, according to the documents. It had been activated the morning it was found and had 19 images of people from that day, the documents say. Prosecutors say they didn’t find any indecent images when they searched Keating’s computer but they did find that he had installed the driver software for the camera. A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for July.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/officer-allegedly-hid-camera-zealand-embassy-us-54926598

Newsline: EU refusing to waive diplomatic immunity in rental stoush in New Zealand

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) is seeking to waive diplomatic immunity in an expensive tenancy dispute. It’s come up against a road block – the European Union. A landlord who rented his high-end house to a diplomat says he was left “high and dry” after a diplomat walked away with $14,000 owed in rent and damage to the property. The Tenancy Tribunal ruled landlords Matthew Ryan and Rebecca Den Bos were owed the money from tenant Eva Tvarozkova, European Union first secretary and deputy head of mission. Diplomats are entitled to automatic diplomatic immunity from New Zealand courts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) initially told the tribunal it should never have got involved, because Ms Tvarozkova is entitled to diplomatic immunity. The Ministry planned to appeal to the tribunal next month.

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/04/mfat-seeks-to-allow-diplomat-to-walk-away-from-14-000-owed-to-landlord.html

Newsline: New Zealand diplomat under fire for US politics tweets

A high-ranking Kiwi diplomat is in hot water after telling the US Democratic Party to “get your shit together or we will all die”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed it is taking “appropriate action” against Caroline Beresford, New Zealand’s deputy head of mission to the United States, following her now-deleted posts on Twitter. In response to a tweet by US politics website The Hill, outlining the potential of a Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren presidential ticket to take on Trump at the 2020 election, Beresford took issue with a suggestion that the pair could “win big”. “No it couldn’t. Please get your shit together or we will all die,” she said, in what appears to be a reference to concerns about the administration of current US President and Republican Donald Trump. In other tweets, also deleted later, Beresford said Democrats had “learned nothing”, and added: “If this is what they have against Trump we should be planning for the eight years.”

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/03/13/96397/nz-diplomat-under-fire-for-us-politics-tweets

Newsline: Calls to expel Iran diplomat from NZ after fiery anti-Israel speech

An Iranian diplomat has been accused of fuelling radicalism with a fiery, anti-Israel speech at an Auckland mosque. Jewish community leaders want Hormoz Ghahremani, first secretary of the Iranian Embassy, to be expelled after he appeared alongside speakers who denied the Holocaust and called for the “surgical removal” of Israel. In his speech, Ghahremani said Israel was trying to “deceive the world” by pretending to be an advocate of peace when in fact it was fuelling terrorism and extremism in the Middle East to divert attention from the Palestine issue. Members of the Jewish community say it’s outrageous that the representative of a foreign Government should make such comments. The speech was in June but has only just come to light. Juliet Moses, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Council, said the fact an Iran Government representative was making such inflammatory statements was concerning. Moses said she hoped the Government would investigate and take action against Ghahremani. “Expulsion might be an option.”

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/98300391/iran-diplomat-under-fire-for-antiisrael-speech-in-auckland

Newsline: US ambassador to New Zealand investigated over inappropriate comments

It was newly minted Ambassador Scott Brown’s first day in Samoa, and the day’s activities seemed drawn right from the foreign emissary playbook. The former Massachusetts senator and his wife had spent the day at a site with volunteers from the Peace Corps, and Brown made offhand remarks that sparked an official State Department inquiry and have critics saying he degrades women. Brown told many of the people at the function that they looked beautiful, according to the Associated Press. And he told one server in particular that back in the United States, she could make hundreds of dollars in the hospitality industry. Now, four months into his ambassadorship, Brown finds himself playing defense. In a video interview with the New Zealand news website Stuff, his wife by his side, he tried to cast his words as innocent compliments that had been taken the wrong way. The State Department and the embassies in New Zealand and Samoa didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment about the investigation.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/10/25/a-u-s-ambassador-told-a-server-she-should-cash-in-on-her-looks-an-official-inquiry-followed/?utm_term=.e596e60b6ad3

Newsline: Kuwait removed diplomat from New Zealand following alleged assault

Kuwait withdrew one of its diplomats from New Zealand following an allegation of assault. The envoy was removed after the Middle Eastern country declined to waive diplomatic immunity. The police said they were called to a central Wellington address in the early morning. “This involved an allegation of assault by a diplomat from the Embassy of the State of Kuwait.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11899373