Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


West Papuan freedom fighter blocked from NZ Parliament

West Papuan freedom fighter blocked from NZ Parliament

Parliament's new Speaker is embroiled in his first fight, before he's even had a full day in the debating chamber.

West Papuan freedom fighter Benny Wenda is on his way to New Zealand, and while he's spoken at parliaments around the world, he won't be allowed to here.

Mr Wenda is a colourful character. He starts his talks with a traditional greeting, and then a song. He's done this all around the world – at the British Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, and even the United Nations.

But Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says he’s being blocked from talking here.

“Benny Wenda has spoken at many parliaments around the world, but it appears the New Zealand Parliament will shut its doors.”

Mr Wenda says the people of West Papua have suffered atrocities at the hands of the Indonesian military.

In 2002 he was arrested for promoting independence. A year later he escaped prison and fled to the United Kingdom, where he was granted political asylum.

In 2011 Interpol issued a red alert at the request of the Indonesian government. But last year, after an investigation, that was removed. It was deemed to be politically motivated.

The Greens, Labour and Mana applied to the new speaker David Carter to have a function here, in the west foyer, but that was refused.
Click here to find out more!

Labour MP Maryan Street says the decision goes against the spirit of Parliament.

“Parliament is exactly the place where people's points of view should be aired,” she says.

In the past, Parliament has been used for everything from Ahmed Zaoui's book launch, to a wedding.

But the Greens say the Government doesn't want to upset the Indonesians, a big trading partner.

“I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Affairs Minister has had some influence on this decision,” says Mr Norman.

Mr Wenda will bring with him West Papua human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson – most famous for being Julian Assange's legal advisor.

The function will now be held across the road from Parliament.

The Speaker's office, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs wouldn't be interviewed for this story.

3 News was simply told the function didn't meet the guidelines. There was no further explanation.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Legal Fudging Of The GCSB Revelations

As many have noted, the Hager/Snowden revelations of the spying by our security agencies on our Pacific neighbours and allies is a virtual re-run of the pre-election debate.

Unfortunately, it is also a forerunner of the kind of “ debate” we can expect during the upcoming review of the security agency powers, in June. It is a situation where the government (a) stonewalls, (b) baldly asserts that mass surveillance is not occurring despite the Snowden evidence that it is, and (c) claims that the GCSB actions were lawful.

Yet as Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman says, this can be true only if the legislation passed last year by the Key government has made the mass surveillance of New Zealanders – and the related handing over of their private data to the NSA – lawful. More>>

Latest:

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Women's Day, March 8: It’s Time For Men To Step Up For Gender Equality

UN Women is launching the HeForShe campaign in New Zealand at the International Women's Day Parliamentary Breakfast, and is calling on New Zealand men — including politicians and community and sports leaders — to show their commitment to gender equality by signing up to this global campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Teina Pora Wins Appeal: Gordon Campbell On The Privy Council Decision

The quashing of the convictions of Teina Pora for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in 1992 has shone a spotlight once again on a major gap in the New Zealand justice system... More>>

ALSO:

Urgent Bill Planned: MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news