'We are a nation that allows free speech' - New Zealanders should be allowed to hear Chelsea Manning, says Ardern

The Prime Minister says allowing free speech in New Zealand needs to be consistent, after US whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was granted a visa allowing her entry into the country. 

When asked if Ms Manning's crimes in the US were heroic, Ms Ardern said said the decision to allow Ms Manning a visa was an "operational decision" made by Immigration New Zealand, that "ultimately... make a call based on the information they have in front of them". 

Immigration officials have allowed the former intelligence analyst to apply for a visa. Source: Breakfast

Ms Manning is a former US army intelligence analyst (Then Bradley Manning) who leaked classified military and diplomatic documents, and is scheduled to speak in Auckland on September 8 and Wellington on September 9.

"I think there's interest in what [Ms Manning] has to say and we should allow New Zealanders to hear that," Ms Ardern said. 

"We are a nation that allows free speech, we've seen a number of examples recently where we've acknowledged that by allowing people to share their views, and that's New Zealand.

"That's as it should be, but we should be consistent about that." 

Ms Ardern did not think the decision would have an impact on the New Zealand-United States relationship.

The Prime Minister was asked her view on Immigration granting Ms Manning a visa to the country. Source: 1 NEWS