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NZ asks US embassy staffer to leave

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/03/2017
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The US embassy in New Zealand has refused to waive diplomatic immunity for one of its staff members New Zealand police want to question.

An incident involving a diplomat from the US embassy was brought to the attention of New Zealand police on Sunday, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman says.

MFAT was asked by police on Monday to request a waiver of immunity from the US to enable police to undertake investigations, and did so that day.

The US government has on Friday declined to waive the diplomat's immunity.

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

Police were called to an address in Lower Hutt but the man, who works at the embassy in Wellington as a technical attache, had left, apparently nursing a broken nose and a black eye, One News reports.

A US government spokesman says as a matter of policy "we do not comment on the specifics of matters under investigation".

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

''Any allegations of wrongdoing are always fully investigated."

The spokesman says the US is communicating with New Zealand authorities.

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