Exclusive: US embassy won't allow cops to speak to diplomat who fled Lower Hutt property with broken nose

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Details of a diplomatic wrangle that's been playing out between US and New Zealand authorities have been revealed by 1 NEWS.

Police want to speak with US diplomat Colin White over an incident in Lower Hutt, but his government won't waive his immunity.
Source: 1 NEWS

The case involves an American embassy employee who police want to question over an incident in Lower Hutt.

But police have come up against a diplomatic brick wall.

Chris White is an American diplomat wanted for questioning by New Zealand police after an incident in the Lower Hutt suburb of Tirohanga.

But police can't arrest Mr White because the US Government won't waive his diplomatic immunity.

"Sometimes some countries also say 'our diplomats are subject to our own criminal law and if we bring them home we will make sure they are properly charged'," said Colin Keating, former United Nations Ambassador.

Police were called to an address on Sunday, but Alabama-born Chris White had left, apparently nursing a broken nose and a black eye.

So police asked the Ministry of Foreign affairs to intervene.

The Chief of Protocol, Mark Swain met with the Acting US Ambassador, Candy Green, on Monday.

Today Foreign affairs told 1 NEWS: "The United States Government has today declined to waive the diplomat's immunity. Therefore MFAT has asked the United States to withdraw the staff member in question from New Zealand."

It's not the first time this has happened.

Disgraced Malaysian diplomat Mohammed Rizalman fled New Zealand before he could stand trial in 2014. 

But he was eventually brought back and convicted of indecent assault on a Wellington woman. 

"What we're seeing at the moment is an increasing trend to waiver immunity and a recognition that that's normal," Mr Keating said.

Chris White and his wife work at the embassy in Wellington. Mr White as a technical attache. 

1 NEWS understands he was working closely with the GCSB spy agency.

But neither the agency nor the embassy would confirm that.

In a statement the embassy told us: "We take seriously any suggestion that our staff have fallen short of the high standards of conduct expected of US Government personnel.

"Any allegations of wrongdoing are always fully investigated."


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