Key must apologise over Malaysian diplomat case

The Prime Minister needs to immediately apologise to Tania Billingsley for the Government’s handling of her case and he must instruct Murray McCully to immediately release an unredacted version of the John Whitehead report into the matter, the Green Party said today.

The Prime Minister needs to immediately apologise to Tania Billingsley for the Government’s handling of her case and he must instruct Murray McCully to immediately release an unredacted version of the John Whitehead report into the matter, the Green Party said today.

Former Malaysian diplomat, Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail has pleaded guilty to the assault of Tania Billingsley. Following his arrest for the assault in May last year, the Ministry of Foreign and Trade allowed Mr Rizalman to leave the country. A subsequent inquiry into the incident excluded the actions of Murray McCully. Mr McCully has refused to release the report until the conclusion of the trail.

“John Key said he would apologise to the diplomat’s victim, but reneged on that promise once Tania Billingsley went public criticising the Government’s approach to sexual violence,” said Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie.

“John Key owes Ms Billingsley a long overdue apology for his Government’s failure of her just after the attack, and the effect that his and his Ministers’ actions have had on her ever since.

“By refusing to apologise at the time, John Key allowed Ms Billingsley to be vilified publicly, including by the Prime Minsters’ favourite blogger Cameron Slater, who all but accused her of bringing the violent sexual attack by the diplomat upon herself.

“If John Key sticks by his refusal to apologise to Ms Billingsley, he is reinforcing a system that refuses to listen to women. I think that’ll leave him further offside with New Zealand women.

“The Whitehead report into this fiasco needs to be immediately released in its original form, free of redactions.

“We know that the Prime Minister, Police Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs were briefed about the attack, but the report didn’t include the actions of Murray McCully or Police Minster of the time, Anne Tolley. Both Ministers need to be upfront about what they knew and when.

“Lastly, the fact this case took nearly a year and a half to even reach this stage again shows New Zealand has a major problem in dealing with sexual violence cases in a way that doesn’t re-victimise victims,” Ms Logie said.

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