Judith Collins calls Chelsea Manning a 'traitor' who cost lives

Chelsea Manning is a "traitor" whose information leaks could have cost lives, according to National MP Judith Collins.

Ms Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst, was found guilty of espionage and theft and sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking military files to Wikileaks. Her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama and she was released after seven years behind bars.

She is planning a tour to Australia and New Zealand to speak about her time in prison, privacy, transgender issues and Wikileaks.

However she's been barred from entering Australia because of her previous criminal convictions and faces opposition from New Zealand's National Party.

Appearing on The AM Show on Friday, Ms Collins said Ms Manning had betrayed her country.

"Most likely, with the information that she gave, people lost their lives or were definitely put in danger. She is a traitor," she told host Duncan Garner.

"She had access to very sensitive intelligence information which she gave to Wikileaks. They published that online with absolutely nobody's names deleted or anything.

"If you now look at what Wikileaks has been doing over the years and who they're connected to - these are not necessarily people who take steps to protect not only people's privacy, but their lives."

While some convicted criminals have been allowed into New Zealand, including Nelson Mandela and 'Wolf of Wall Street' Jordan Belfort, other high-profile people have been turned down. Boxer Mike Tyson was banned from entering New Zealand in 2012 because of his 1992 rape conviction.

Other controversial people to be allowed in recently were Canadian far-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, who sparked debate about the limits of free-speech in New Zealand.

In order to speak in New Zealand, Ms Manning will need special direction from the Minister of Immigration, Associate Minister of Immigration or a senior Immigration New Zealand official.

"They have to go through a process of getting approved and in her case she [Ms Manning] was very very bad at what she did," Ms Collins says.

"Our view is, we are absolutely free speech but in her case she is a criminal with convictions and it's got to go through the process."

National Party immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse told RadioLIVE Drive if he was in charge he wouldn't let her in.

"If I was to be considering something like that there'd be a few considerations; time since the offence, the sort of remorse and rehabilitation that's been undertaken, whether she has family ties and perhaps the reason for the visit," Mr Woodhouse said.

"I would have those concerns whether she was coming here to speak or lie on a beach. But really there is no case for her to be given a special direction."

Appearing on The AM Show alongside Ms Collins, Labour Under-Secretary Michael Wood said New Zealand needs a "proper process" about these decisions, but Mr Woodhouse has failed to follow this.

"Around these decisions you have a process. She has a conviction so she has to apply for dispensation," he says.

"The Minister then considers that and they've got certain factors they can consider and they have to make a proper and lawful decision and that's the approach we'll take in this case.

"But Michael Woodhouse just came out straight away after having campaigned on the rights of the two obnoxious Canadians and said 'no, we should just ban this person'."


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