Key 'disappointed' by NZ's Argo portrayal
Wednesday 27 Feb 2013 6:11 p.m.
The latest best picture Oscar winner, Argo, has upset politicians here, who say it paints New Zealand as cowardly.
The Prime Minister says the depiction is disappointing and two former Foreign Ministers have called for the film's producers to apologise.
Ben Affleck is in post-Oscar glory, with a message to Kiwis.
“I love New Zealand and I love New Zealanders,” he says. “I'm tempted to end there. It's tricky.”
It's tricky because some of the facts in his award-winning film are partially wrong. It shows how New Zealand responded to taking in six US diplomatic hostages in Iran in 1979, saying the Kiwis turned them away and the Canadians took them in.
But in the real story, we did more than that. The book Our Man in Tehran says that despite being caught in a box, because Iran was New Zealand’s largest customer for lamb, New Zealand went considerably beyond their mandate. Former ambassador Chris Beeby, who died 13 years ago, visited the hostages. He even rented a house the hostages could have used if they were discovered by the Iranians.
Our Prime Minister's unimpressed with Hollywood.
“It's a bit disappointing,” says John Key.
“I think it's constructed as well as it could possibly be,” says Affleck.
Former Foreign Minister Phil Goff says that is “not really good enough”. Mr Goff knew how far Mr Beeby went to help out, and says Affleck should say sorry.
“Just trying to put it right would be the best way of apologising to New Zealand,” says Mr Goff.
So too does another former Foreign Minister, Winston Peters. But the current Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says he'd like to see the film before deciding whether he too wants an apology.