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“Why did you not ask?” – Apologies & culture

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, July 2nd, 2014 - 56 comments
Categories: john key, same old national, sexism - Tags: , ,

In its handling of the case of the Malaysian Diplomat accused of attempted rape in NZ, the government has marginalised the concerns and sensitivities of the victim.  Their own arse covering was given a higher priority.  Jan Logie argued that this indicated the government was reinforcing rape culture in their choice of priorities.

From: https://www.dartmouth.edu/sexualabuse/educated/bringing_in_the_bystander/rape_culture.html

Jan Logie’s  speech in the urgent debate on the government’s negotiations on the waiving of diplomatic immunity today, addressed some very important, and, at that stage, some relatively marginalised issues.

Near the beginning of her speech, Logie noted (as had David Shearer in his speech), that at that point, the government had not issued an apology to the alleged victim of the robbery and attempted rape.  Murray McCully made an apology to John Key first.

Get that?  John Key’s senstivities were considered more important.  Or is that just another bit of arse covering, by distancing Key from any of the significant decisions made?

Addressing Minister Mc Cully Logie said:

You say, you should have known but you did not know.  My question  is,” why did you not ask?”

“This is a once in a decade event.” They come – this is your words, Minister.  that you’re now disputing, I guess. That sums up some of the confusion we are getting from you on this issue.


And you didn’t even bother to check in. to find out what happened.

If a government was putting victims at the heart of our responses. If we were putting violence prevention at the heart of our responses, that question would have been asked.

Logie was critical of the government’s claim to take issues of violence extremely seriously, for instance, in it’s latest family violence policy.

domestic violence hurts all

If they had been serious about stopping  inter-personal violence, they wouldn’t have neglected the victim so much in the way they dealt with the Malaysian , diplomatic immunity issue.  They would have put the victim at the heart of the way they responded to the alleged crime.  Failing to do this was reinforcing rape culture.

Logie argued that, if the government had put the victim at the heart, they would have done everything possible to ensure that the alleged perpetrator was kept in NZ to stand trial.  Now it is highly likely that the victim will need to travel to an unfamiliar country to give evidence, far from her home support network.

Some government speakers in the debate, who followed Logie, took offense at her taking a ‘holier than thou’ attitude.

Tim Groser said they take consideration of the victim extremely seriously, as they do the notion of justice for the victim.  He criticised “one member” (meaning Logie) for claiming that the government is indifferent to the victim’s situation.  He said this was “bordering on the insulting”.   Really?  They are insulted?  And how does that stack up in relation to the feelings of the victim?

In the government’s defense, Groser said they will do whatever is necessary to ensure the victim gets justice.  But, what Logie was arguing for, was more than getting “justice”.  It was about treating the victim with sensitivity and putting her at the heart of the issue.

[Update] Diplomat to return to NZ

On Stuff, it is reported that,

The diplomat allowed to leave New Zealand after an alleged sexual assault will return to face the charges, the Malaysian Government has announced.

In a statement tonight, it said the former defence staff assistant at the High Commission in Wellington would return to New Zealand to assist in the investigation of charges of burglary and assault with intent to commit rape.

The Malaysian Government said it had informed New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully of the decision.

[Update#2] the survivor of the attempted rape, spoke to Jan Logie]. The survivor has been watching Parliament and is appalled and angry at the focus of government MPs, and the way she has not been listened to.

Lincoln Tan reports in today’s NZ Herald:

Ms Logie said the young woman had been watching parliamentary debates on television and was appalled by the focus of discussion about the case.

“Right at the moment she’s running on adrenaline and is angry. She’s been listening to all of these debates where she’s been reduced down to the phrase ‘the victim’. What she sees is the real issue – the fact that the system didn’t listen to her, and has effectively been setting up to deny her justice. She gets the connection to that and a lot of other people’s experience and she’s angry.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) chief executive John Allen apologised to the woman yesterday “for the turmoil that she has had to suffer”.



56 comments on ““Why did you not ask?” – Apologies & culture”

  1. AmaKiwi 1

    This offense happened on May 9. The alleged offender was out of the country in less than 48 hours. It took 7 weeks for it to come to light.

    Cover-up. Cover-up. Cover-up.

    It’s the National way.

  2. dv 2

    Tim Groser said they take consideration of the victim extremely seriously, as they do the notion of justice for the victim

    Not shown by actions Tim.

    How did it come to light?

    • Tracey 2.1

      and yet the victim doesnt feel considered by the government Mr Groser, I guess she is insulting the govt too?

  3. freedom 3

    excuse the repost, this thread was not up and I feel this is better suited here. Can a mod please delete the other posting on the JK telling lies thread?

    We are close to an election and no matter what Party you are, every topic is shone through that prism at some point in its discussion. National do not have a good history when it comes to the issue of handling sexual violence. They would have been rattled and very worried about this event, especially so soon after the Royals were in town. Any Government would have been.

    At the time of the attempted rape of a New Zealand woman by a foreign diplomat the National Government was planning the release of their new domestic violence policies. Considering National was soon to release such a pivotal arm of their election campaign, an arm now fractured by haste, it is puzzling how they did not seize the opportunity in front of them to actually do something powerful to protect New Zealand women.

    All they had to do, to achieve what may have been the highest polling in their history, would have been to not let the accused leave the country. All they had to do was physically stop him escaping. The ensuing Diplomatic Incident would have generated a global outpouring of congratulations to the Government of New Zealand for standing up for the victim of an attempted rape.

    Telling the world that rape is not ok is one thing. For a country to be seen on the global stage putting rights of the victim before the freedom of the accused? Well… National could have ridden that wave of support proudly into September and probably have locked up the election then and there. But to even see that opportunity, they would first have to care about the victim.

    The fact none of this happened only emphasizes the growing belief that one person the National Government never consider when swirling around in their self-protective spin, is the victim.

    I sincerely hope it is this issue more than any other which costs them the election

    [karol: Deletion of other post done]

  4. Tom Jackson 4

    I’m not sure that trying to shoehorn this event into the rape culture paradigm is helpful. It’s not rape culture but government self-interest that is the cause here. If it had suited them to have this man torn apart by wild dogs whilst they sang hymns to the eternal damnation of rapists, they would have gone with that.

    • There’s no “shoehorning” at all. When out of an entire organisation not one person thinks “Oh hey, we should discuss this situation with the survivor before making any decisions”, it’s rape culture at work. When the Minister of Foreign Affairs has allowed this situation to develop and thinks he owes an apology first to the Prime Minister, that’s rape culture at work.

      Not centering the survivor, not considering her needs and wishes, treating the whole situation like it’s a diplomatic boo-boo which needs to be brushed under the carpet: all of those things add up to not taking sexual violence seriously. And that’s, you guessed it, what we mean by the term “rape culture”.

      • karol 4.1.1

        To me, McCully, Key and the MFAT officials come into the categories of “bystanders”, and/or “calloused sexual attitudes” part of the rape culture diagram – and maybe some come into other parts of the diagram, given that we don’t know everything that went on.

      • freedom 4.1.2

        +1 thank you Stephanie
        for articulating so clearly what I suspect many of us had hunted for but not quite captured.

  5. Clemgeopin 5

    It is clear that Key and McCully are trying cleverly and cunningly to cover their backsides only after the disgraceful facts came to light through the efforts of some alert journalists. I think there is a whole lot of BS, misinformation and half truths being peddled and rinsed for public consumption by their slimy spin machine.

  6. dv 6

    Another point.
    The offence was on may 9th.
    Charges laid?, but the police could not hold him because of diplomatic status.

    Surely the police would then inform MFAT, withe the charges,
    Did that happen?

    Would that not be a red flag?

  7. The alleged sexual assault was on May 9. The accused was in court the next day.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade asked Malaysia to waive diplomatic immunity and Mr McCully was briefed.

    On May 12 Mr Key was briefed on the case. Separately, officials offered “for the accused to be taken back to Malaysia”.

    On May 21 Malaysia refused to waive diplomatic immunity. The next day Ismail fled New Zealand.

    Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Apologies-over-assault-accused-diplomat/tabid/1607/articleID/351126/Default.aspx#ixzz36IYUbobE

    Yet again the media let the PM off the hook.

    Yet he too took no further interest in the case, did not ask any further questions around what was happening…. instead focusing all smart*** smug faced attention on an 11 year old letter.

    This govt. has proven time and time again they don’t care about victims of crime, and certainly not sexual abuse victims (having made cuts to Sexual Abuse counselling and services as soon as getting in).

    They represent the epitome of evil in my eyes.

    • dv 7.1

      On May 12 Mr Key was briefed on the case. Separately, officials offered “for the accused to be taken back to Malaysia”.

      And yet Key on TVNZ july 2

      “But I can only rely on the best advice that I am given. On SATURDAY when I was briefed on the issue I told everything I knew,” Mr Key says.

      I assume he is referring to sat May 28, and May 12th is not a Saturday

      • DirtydeedsNZ 7.1.1

        This makes sense – that Key would not get properly briefed about a potential international diplomatic incident with big ramifications while he was briefed immediately about the all important 2003 Liu letter as soon it was uncovered.

        Wish the media would do their friggen jobs and actually question his statements rather than letting his consistent inconsistent statements slide. The real one being granted constant “immunity” is Key.

  8. Populuxe1 8

    Riiiight. So which part of the Vienna Convention and Malaysia refusing to waive diplomatic immunity do you not understand? MFAT asked Malaysia to wave diplomatic immunity immediately – which part of that do you not understand? It would appear National’s only crime was covering up their own impotence, not rushing to defend a rapist.

    • freedom 8.1

      “What is clear is that our Malaysian colleagues believed not agreeing to the waiver was a process the New Zealand Government agreed with,” Mr Allen said.

      • Populuxe1 8.1.1

        Which is diplomatic speak for The government can’t do anything without Malaysia’s consent because it is a signatory of the Vienna Convention, and Malaysia knows this.

        • freedom

          So your take is Malaysia is lying about their willingness to waive immunity? Ok, That is an opinion. Not one I can respect but hey, I don’t have to. I watched the activity in the House today. All of it. (well up to halfway through Hayes speech anyway, the guy is valium in a suit)

          McCully is a seasoned campaigner. He is no novice when facing the chamber in urgent debate. He was not behaving like a man with nothing to hide. His trembling, his faltering voice, the way he folded his arms across his chest as he spoke, it all betrayed the seriousness of the events.

        • Tom Jackson

          He’s coming back, so you were wrong. The Malaysians aren’t rapist sheltering barbarians – they’ve been telling the truth the whole time.

          Responsibility for this debacle lies with McCully and Key not taking a proper interest in what is an exceptional and important case.

          • Populuxe1

            This is, however a recent development and I never suggested that the Malaysians were “rapist sheltering barbarians” – it is true, however, that in the first instance they refused to waive diplomatic immunity, which locked the government into a very limited set of responses and as much as I can’t stand them, I feel they were misrepresented.

            • felix

              “it is true, however, that in the first instance they refused to waive diplomatic immunity”


              You must be privy to some information that none of the rest of us have seen.

    • North 8.2

      Dear Old Tory Populuxe…….trying hard again.

      In my experience there’s nothing more vile than a Tory you know what…….

      For decades I’ve been in a position to come very, very reliably to that conclusion. They are the worst. Truly ! Press me and I’ll tell you more.

      • Populuxe1 8.2.1

        I find your binary thinking most quiant – like visiting a museum. Calling bullshit does not make on a Tory. If the nice Mr Pavlov tinkles his bell, will you still drool?

    • emergency mike 8.3

      “After inspecting the file himself last night, Mr McCully said it became clear that New Zealand’s messages to Malaysia had been ambiguous.

      And officials advising Malaysia’s Foreign Minister, Anifah Mana, were entitled to believe from informal communications from MFAT that the course of action Malaysia took would be acceptable to New Zealand.”

      Run that through your diplomatic translator. Weird, I would have thought that putting the victim first would mean that we would make it very clear to the Malaysians that that course of action would be less than ‘acceptable’. And that wouldn’t be too difficult.

      Not so much covering up their own impotence Pop, more like covering up the fact that they didn’t really care about the interests of the victim. Not a good look in sexual assault cases.

      • Tracey 8.3.1

        and yet what he inspected hasnt been released to the public… Still just the letters that suited his version. I do not accept he hadnt seen the whole file and read it before releasing those two letters.

      • Populuxe1 8.3.2

        Actually it sounds like a lot of hearsay and confused arse-covering

        • emergency mike

          If by hearsay you mean people on blogs speculating about how the negotiations really went down and how well briefed Key and/or McCully were about that, then by crickey not much gets past you. I’m assuming you’re not privy to that information, and thus your “I feel they were misrepresented” is just much hearsay as any.

          “confused arse-covering”

          No argument there.

        • freedom


          Populuxe1, have you read this statement from the Malaysian Government?
          “During the discussion on 12 May, the New Zealand side had offered an alternative for the accused to be brought back to Malaysia. It was never our intention to treat the matter lightly.”

  9. emergency mike 9

    Key gets caught out bullshitting yet again. Please, as if him and McCully wouldn’t have known exactly how it went down. He just said something that sounded sufficiently butt-covering that he thought no one would check or deny.

    What is painfully clear from this disaster is that the victim is well down the list of priorities. “I’ve apologied to John Key.” Um what?

  10. Skinny 10

    Muz is a liability and Key wants rid of him. His wink wink nudge nudge I’ll sort it out style has caught him out. Mr PR spin is rightfully had a blow put up his arse!

  11. North 11

    Been checking out Facebook. There is real anger that the victim’s position has been coldly subjugated. No, worse than that, completely ignored. In favour of patently cheap, wickedly uncaring, scamming, Notional Party political games. To wit the sought and duly given coverage of buffoon Sir Les Patterson’s (McCully’s) grovelling, slavish, fulsome, most unmanly apology to GodKey.

    It is becoming truly Monty Pythonesque. I fervently hope that if only subliminally at this point, people are saying “Nah, nah, bloody nah !”. To burst out, nearer to election day, in an angry consciousness which says “Nah, fuck this shit – he ain’t God !”

    #TeamShonKey – please please please crank up the God gazing, crank up the idolatry ! I’ll give you odds there are clinically focused spin-makers in the Notional Party spin-factory who are warning about this right now. It’s becoming an ugly religiosity on a truly Monty Pythonesque scale.

    Just take a gecko at Kool-Aid-Fizzy-Anus…….lost it completely.

  12. emergency mike 12

    Stuff is reporting that Malaysia is sending the accused man back to NZ. Looks like they have caved to public outrage in their own country.

    Counting down to John Key saying “Move on,” in 5, 4, 3,…

    • Tom Jackson 12.1

      It looks like they were telling the truth all the time.

      • emergency mike 12.1.1

        I never said they weren’t telling the truth. Did you look at the link? They brought him home under diplomatic immunity, but now the story has blown up. Now they are sending him back.

  13. Gruntie 13

    John Armstrong in Herald this morning says

    “It is quite possible that the New Zealand officials put up their option of ensuring the diplomat was quietly returned to Malaysia – something which would have suited everyone bar the victim of the assault”

    Wrong John! the effect goes far beyond the woman whom was attacked – it effects her family, her friends, her community, the reputation of our courts, state etc – all of us ! to imply that only the woman is affected is just dumb.

    • karol 13.1

      And no call for the PM to resign?

      • Jack 13.1.1

        Armstrong hit the nail on the head “they were hoping it would all quietly die a natural death and the official would slip quietly back to Malaysia”, the rights of the victim are the collateral damage in this decision.

        Obviously McCully, Key, and MFAT are more concerned about the diplomatic relations with Malaysia.

      • Tracey 13.1.2

        and no documents supporting the view the govt fought hard to keep him here. Just the one letter released.

        • Populuxe1

          There’s nothing they could have done. If Malaysia hadn’t waived diplomatic immunity the scumbag is protected by the Vienna Convention.

          • Tracey

            so you agree they didnt fight hard to keep him here, which is what mccully and key said nz had done?

            • Populuxe1

              Fight how exactly? Or do you not understand how diplomatic immunity works? Which bit are you not clear on? The “diplomatic” or the “immunity”?

              • emergency mike

                Fight how? Well for a start Pop, we could make sure that this doesn’t happen: “…officials advising Malaysia’s Foreign Minister, Anifah Mana, were entitled to believe from informal communications from MFAT that the course of action Malaysia took would be acceptable to New Zealand.”

                Because Malaysia didn’t have to invoke the diplomatic immunity. And if they were to be of the understanding that that course of action was not acceptable to NZ, because that would not be in the best interests of justice for the victim, then maybe, the Malaysians would have agreed.

                Which is in fact what they have publicly stated: they said no because they thought we were ok with that. And lookie see Pop, now they have offered to send the accused back to NZ to face trial here. So please stop with the “don’t you know what diplomatic immunity is / we were powerless to do anything” line, it’s embarrassing.

          • Pascal's bookie

            But that’s where the lack of interest from the Ministers comes in Pop.

            We know that after the third party notes there were ongoing less formal communications. We know that there was ambiguity from our side.

            Malaysia claims they offered a to waive. It seems our ambiguity was in response to this, and that it happened on the 12th of May, the same day the PM was briefed.

            We don’t know when the PM was briefed on the the 12th, or what was in the briefing. We are told an email from within MFAT was sent to one Ministerial staffer, and this was the only communication with the Minister’s office, but it was not read.

            We don’t the ‘whys’ around that, or the contents of that email.

            Nor do we know why the Minister didn’t keep a running brief on what was happening, even though it would seem to be a clear thing for the no surprises policy to cover.

            So the ‘hands were tied by treaty’ line is just piffle, discussions were ongoing, we know this. It’s a fact. What we don’t know is who knew discussions were ongoing, and if they dind’t know, was it deliberate on the part of MFAT staffers, or negligence on the part of Ministers.

            • freedom

              here is the Malaysian Government press release that states quite clearly their impression of the meeting on 12 May

              “During the discussion on 12 May, the New Zealand side had offered an alternative for the accused to be brought back to Malaysia. It was never our intention to treat the matter lightly.”

          • freedom

            There are always choices Populuxe1. Some just require more spine than others.

            • Populuxe1

              The choice to violate international law? Because that always looks good.

              • McFlock

                the choice on whether to make it clear that the nz diplomat who said we’d be cool if immunity wasn’t waived mispoke. Badly.

                That was the choice that disgraced us.

              • felix

                Since when is it illegal for diplomats to exercise diplomacy?

  14. One Anonymous Bloke 14

    Groser displays similar tendencies to people not a million miles from The Standard. Criticise their behaviour and they take it as a personal attack.

    Powerful stuff from Logie: good points well made.

  15. Gruntie 15

    Minister resigns – yeah right

  16. aerobubble 16

    Putting the victim at the heart of the debate. What National? National do not think like that. National does not believe in society. Its profit before people. That’s why they can’t be trusted on TPP. National time and again do the profit analysis and miss some social risk in the calculation, only then to have to back track and realize the policy revolution they have just exposed society to, harms more than helps.

    Labour needs not only to attack National on their poor shrunken economic thinking, but also on the what many conservatives used to believe inviolable, the greater good, society. Thatcherism was able to ignore society, beat society out of the conservative party because the economy was set to growth gangbusters due to decades of cheap middle eastern oil. Then she imposed a deregulating, private market only, view of economics that any moderately intelligent brown noser could easily recite ad nausea. Where did men like Whyte get so cock sure of their pro-incest views, but by ignoring any concerns of society, that’s how. If you live in a fish bowl, alone, then you get very individually centered. Whyte, and his ilk, are constructs of their time, not independent thinkers, they do open the up to the floor, society, least they are exposed for their shallowness.

    Our future is based on oil, oil has peaked, oil will continue to become more expensive and high energy intensive infrastructure will not return the benefits they once did. Society is no longer underwritten by cheap energy, and so the politics of hard decisions and hard ideology has returned.
    National are incapable of managing the transition to the future economic and philosophies.

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    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago