New review needed into Ministers’ actions in Malaysian diplomat case

The Green Party is calling for a comprehensive review into what involvement, if any, Cabinet Ministers had in the decision to allow a Malaysian diplomat, who had been charged with serious sexual offences, to leave New Zealand before his trial.

The official inquiry into the events, the full results of which are still secret, left out Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Police Minister Anne Tolley and only scrutinised processes and actions by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“The public have a right to know if the actions of Ministers were appropriate and how seriously they took the allegations of indecent assault, which Mr Rizalman has since pleaded guilty to,” Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“The Ministers of Police and Foreign Affairs have both admitted being advised of Mr Rizalman’s arrest on 10 May 2014 and John Key was briefed on 12 May, yet ten days later Mr Rizalman was allowed to leave New Zealand and go home to Malaysia.

“For justice to really get done the public need to know what involvement, if any, Ministers and the Prime Minister had in decisions made in the days following Muhammad Rizalman’s attack on Tania Billingsley on 9 May 2014.

“John Key should follow through on his promise to apologise to Ms Billingsley, which he rescinded on when she criticised him in public.

“If Ms Billingsley hadn’t gone public, the public pressure that forced Mr Rizalman to return to New Zealand and face the charges may never have happened.

“Victims of crimes must have the right to speak freely about the Government without personal repercussions from the Prime Minister.

“The Green Party has previously called for John Key to apologise to Ms Billingsley and for the review, undertaken by former Treasury Secretary John Whitehead, to be made public immediately, but we also think that the Whitehead review doesn’t go far enough because it doesn’t include the actions of Ministers,” said Ms Logie.

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