U.S. refusal to waive diplomat's immunity 'surprising'

Therefore, MFAT has asked the United States to withdraw the staff member in question from New Zealand.

The US Embassy worker involved in the incident was identified as Chris White, who served as technical attaché alongside his wife in Wellington, TVNZ reported.

Police wanted to question the U.S. diplomat in connection with an incident last Sunday night.

According to Television New Zealand (TVNZ), which broke the story, White was seen with a broken nose and black eye following an incident in the city of Lower Hutt.

Mr McCully went on: "Whether or not to request a waiver of immunity is a decision that rests with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs [Brook Barrington]".

The ministry agreed to the request because the alleged crime was serious, meaning one which carries a penalty of imprisonment of one year of more.

An American diplomat has been expelled from New Zealand after the US Government refused to waive his diplomatic immunity during a police investigation, according to reports.

MFAT said it was clear with all diplomatic missions that it expected foreign diplomats to abide by New Zealand law - and to waive immunity, should the ministry request it, if there were allegations of serious crimes.

White, a technical attache at the U.S. embassy in Wellington, was understood to have been working with the GCSB spy agency.

Police may also ask MFAT to request a waiver of diplomatic immunity to allow them to investigate allegations against a foreign diplomat, and police can not interview a diplomat without that waiver.

"I was kept informed of MFAT's decision, and I am satisfied with the way the Ministry has conducted this process".

Basically, diplomats are fairly immune to foreign investigations and prosecutions.

One News reported on Saturday that the diplomat has left New Zealand.

"We take seriously any suggestion that our staff have fallen short of the high standards of conduct expected of USA government personnel".

Where a waiver is refused, MFAT can ask the diplomat's government to withdraw that person.

A U.S. government spokesman earlier said as a matter of policy the U.S. does not comment on the specifics of matters under investigation.

McCully said the United States had stated it always fully investigated all allegations involving its diplomatic staff.



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