John Key makes plea for Kiwi facing death in China

  • 22/11/2015
Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner

The plight of a Kiwi man who could face the death penalty in China has been raised by Prime Minister John Key during formal talks with the Chinese president.

Peter Gardner was arrested in November last year when Customs allegedly found more than 30 kilograms of methamphetamine in his luggage as he checked in at Guangzhou airport.

He stood trial on drug smuggling charges in May and is still waiting for a judge issue a decision on his fate.

Gardner, who also holds Australian citizenship, could face execution by firing squad if he's convicted.

Mr Key said he registered New Zealand's opposition to the death penalty when he met with China's President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of this week's APEC summit in Manila.

"I was quite clear and specific about what I said, which was I didn't ask for him to not be treated appropriately," Mr Key told reporters.

"In other words, if he's broken the law, he needs to be held to account for what is potentially the very serious issue with drugs trafficking.

"But what I did say to the Chinese president is that New Zealand has a very strong view about the death penalty and we would ask him to take that into consideration."