Thursday, July 31, 2014


Why didn't Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully act sooner in the Malaysian diplomat case? Because he couldn't be arsed reading his email:

DAVID SHEARER (Labour - Mt Albert) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Did his office receive an email at approximately 5.00 pm (New Zealand time) on 22 May 2014 advising that the Malaysian Government had refused to waive diplomatic immunity in Muhammad Rizalman’s case; if so, when was that email opened?

Mr SPEAKER: Before I call the Minister, my office has been advised that this answer may be longer than normal.

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN (Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs): As the Minister has already said publicly, one staff member from his office was copied into an internal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade email on 22 May. The email reported that the diplomat had returned to Malaysia in light of a decision by Malaysian authorities to decline a request for a waiver of immunity. The staff member did not open the email when it was received, as she was travelling at the time with limited communications capacity and was not the usual contact point for such reports. The email was identified in June, when correspondence was reviewed in the office.

Coleman refused to answer a subsequent question about exactly when in June the email was opened, from which you can draw your own conclusions about how late it was.

Naturally, the "independent" inquiry into this won't be looking at the Minister or his slackness. Instead its a strapped chicken aimed firmly at MFAT officials, who will be blamed unfairly for their Minister's failure to do his job. But its crystal clear who is at fault here, and who the public should be holding to account.