National Party says Chelsea Manning should not be allowed in New Zealand

The National Party says the Government should refuse to allow US whistleblower Chelsea Manning to visit New Zealand for a speaking tour.

"She is a convicted felon. Ordinary rules should apply, there shouldn't be special treatment," says National Party leader Simon Bridges.

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 from prison in May 2017 after a tumultuous seven years behind bars which included two suicide attempts and a hunger strike.

She plans to speak about her time in prison, privacy, transgender issues and Wikileaks.

But Mr Bridges says while he believes in free speech, National believes she should not be allowed into New Zealand.

"I'm all for free speech. I think that everyone should be allowed to come and speak in New Zealand. The issue here though is that Chelsea Manning has a conviction and ordinary rules should be applied there," he told Newshub.

"Chelsea Manning has been convicted offshore and so ordinary rules should apply and they mean that she isn't allowed entry into New Zealand."

Ms Manning is due to speak at Auckland's Q Theatre on September 8 and at Wellington's Embassy Theatre on September 9.

She will need special direction from the Minister of Immigration, Associate Minister of Immigration or a senior Immigration New Zealand official.

Think Inc, the promoter of Ms Manning's tour, said her visa application is currently sitting with Immigration New Zealand.

"Our New Zealand-based team of advisers are handling this, and we are confident of a positive response both from Immigration New Zealand and the New Zealand Government in the coming days," it said in a statement.

Green foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said Ms Manning has "always acted for the good of the people and democracy" and had paid a high price for it.

"She very bravely put herself on the line to expose some misuses of power and actually expose things that were against the public interest," she said.

Golriz Ghahraman says it's "callous" to call for Ms Manning to be further silenced.
Golriz Ghahraman says it's "callous" to call for Ms Manning to be further silenced. Photo credit: AM Show/file

"I think it's particularly callous to call for her to be further silenced essentially for the rest of her life, to be unable to travel and talk about why she did what she did."

She said Ms Manning committed a crime in order to expose abuses of power against the public good, and she did not pose an ongoing risk to New Zealand.

Newshub.

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