McCully not off hook despite report

The Whitehead report into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's handling of the Rizalman case confirms Murray McCully and his office knew officials were planning to let the diplomat leave but didn’t intervene, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.

“The report did not investigate Minister Murray McCully’s involvement, or otherwise, in this issue.

“He was briefed on the crime from the outset but failed to follow-up or even enquire about it.

“That is inexcusable, given this was a case of sexual assault by a diplomat against a young New Zealand woman.

“It’s clear from an initial email that the New Zealand government told their Malaysian counterparts the best outcome for Muhammed Rizalman was to leave the country.

“A second email between officials and the Minister’s office just minutes later confirms this was the case.

“It defies belief that Mr McCully did nothing to stop Rizalman going home.

“The handling of this situation was an absolute failure by MFAT and by Murray McCully, and the terms of reference of this report ensure McCully’s actions were not scrutinised or held to account.

 “The one bright spot in all of this is that Rizalman’s sentencing will have brought some legal closure for Tania Billingsley. She has acted with dignity and courage throughout,” David Shearer says.