More than 60 diplomats have sought NZ immunity in past 20 years

Dozens of diplomatic officials who have committed violent or sexual offences have sought immunity in New Zealand in the last 20 years.

More than 60 officials have sought immunity for a range of charges including drink-driving and assault, and 25 of those have committed violent or sexual offences.

On seven occasions, New Zealand officials have successfully applied to have diplomatic immunity waived.

Diplomatic immunity gives diplomatic officials the privilege of exemption from certain laws and taxes within New Zealand.

In the most recent dispute, Karaka landlords Matthew Ryan and Rebecca Den Bos were left $14,000 out of pocket by EU first secretary Eva Tvarozkova.

Malaysian diplomat Muhammad Ismail left New Zealand in 2014 after being accused of sexually assaulting a young Wellington woman. He was returned by the Malaysian government and found guilty of indecent assault.

The figures come from a 2016 report by ex-Treasury secretary John Whitehead, who told NZME that offending by diplomats and their family members occurs at a rate of about 2.3 incidents every year, excluding minor offences.


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