US diplomat ejected from New Zealand after mysterious incident | News | DW | 19.03.2017


US diplomat ejected from New Zealand after mysterious incident

A technical attache at the US embassy in New Zealand has been expelled amidst a police inquiry. Both governments have been mum on the alleged crime, but the official in question was seen with physical injuries.

Neuseeland Flagge (M. Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

A US diplomat has been ejected from New Zealand after the US embassy in Wellington refused to waive his immunity, according to media reports on Sunday. Although neither side has made an official comment on the row, it allegedly involves a physical altercation between embassy staffer Colin White and an unknown other party.

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. He was wanted for questioning by police, but the embassy refused to release him from diplomatic immunity, so he could not be arrested.

The police were forced to ask the Foreign Ministry to intervene, resulting in White's expulsion. A spokesman from the ministry told TVNZ that Wellington had sent a request to Washington "to withdraw the staff member in question from New Zealand."

In turn, the US embassy told the news outlet: "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 embassy did not comment on rumors that White, a technical attache, had worked with New Zealand intelligence.

Washington's mission to New Zealand is currently without a permanent ambassador since President Donald Trump dismissed most major US diplomats appointed by his predecessor Barack Obama. 

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