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Archive for New Zealand

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

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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

Newsline: Israel returns ambassador to New Zealand, ending diplomatic rift

Israel said its ambassador to New Zealand will return to his post, ending a six-month rift in relations over a United Nations resolution against Israeli settlements on occupied territory which Palestinians seek for a state. Israel recalled the ambassador in December after New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal sponsored a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement activity. New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the two leaders spoke on the phone earlier this week, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Michal Maayan said in a statement. “I regret the damage done to Israel-New Zealand relations as a result of New Zealand proposing Resolution 2344 at the Security Council,” English wrote, according to the Foreign Ministry statement. On June 4 Israel said it was returning its ambassador to Senegal, after recalling him over the U.N. Security Council resolution. Israel does not have diplomatic ties with Malaysia and Venezuela.

http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/israel-returns-ambassador-new-zealand-ending-diplomatic-rift

Newsline: New Zealand Embassy in Washington covered $7000 booze bill for Trump bash

Taxpayers forked out more than $7000 on alcohol for guests at a glitzy party in Washington celebrating US President Donald Trump’s inauguration. According to official documents, the total bill topped $80,000 ($US58,247). New Zealand spent $750 on customised napkins for the Inauguration Gala on 17 January in Washington. Among the costs were $690 ($US478) on VIP pins, $750 ($US520) on customised napkins and $1780 ($US1235) to hire foliage. More than 320 people attended the four-hour gala on 17 January, including actors, business people and government figures, hosted by New Zealand ambassador Tim Groser. Alcohol cost less than 10 percent of the total budget at slightly more than $7000 ($US4890). The food bill topped $8240 ($US5720) and about $1800 ($US1250) was spent on valet parking. The largest cost by far was $23,670 ($US16,445) to hire furniture, followed by $8520 ($US5917) for the marquee. The total bill was covered by the New Zealand Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s public diplomacy fund. Funding came from within MFAT’s baseline budget and met standard approval criteria, the ministry said. “The event was considered as a constituency building activity to position New Zealand’s interests effectively with the new US administration and Congress.” The embassy noted it had received “positive feedback” from guests. It also touted the “key US influencers” in attendance, including Mr Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and New Zealand-born assistant Chris Liddell. More than 320 people attended the gala in Washington, hosted by NZ ambassador Tim Groser.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/329533/$7000-booze-bill-for-nz%27s-trump-bash