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Govt to pick up contoversial Philippines President's tab while he visits

Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Tue, 22 Nov 2016, 5:15pm
Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte is visiting Auckland. Photo / Getty Images

Govt to pick up contoversial Philippines President's tab while he visits

Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Tue, 22 Nov 2016, 5:15pm

John Key says the government will pick up some of the tab of the Philippines President's visit here.

Rodrigo Duterte, the controversial leader noted for his crackdown on drugs and inflammatory comments about the United States, is currently staying in Auckland while transiting home.

LISTEN ABOVE: Human rights lawyer Michael Bott spoke with Larry Williams about President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to New Zealand

The Prime Minister says he wasn't going to stop President Duterte from stopping over, despite opposition to his human rights record.

Mr Key said he talked with President Duterte at APEC, and he's refuelling here to take a break on his way home.

He said he made it pretty clear when he met the President earlier in the year, that New Zealand doesn't agree with some of the more controversial human rights abuses.

SEE ALSO: Controversial Filipino President arrives in NZ

There are to be only informal talks between our Government and President of the Philippines Duterte while he's in the country.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully is to pay the President a courtesy call tonight.

However his office says it's in the nature of an informal catch up and isn't a formal bilateral meeting.

It has been speculated that Mr Duterte's route through New Zealand was specifically arranged to avoid travelling through the US.
Mr Duterte has expressed his distaste for America in the past.

In October US President Barack Obama cancelled a planned sit-down with Mr Duterte after the Filipino leader called him the "son of a whore".

International media also suggested Mr Duterte may have chosen not to attend the APEC Summit gala dinner to avoid having to interact with Mr Obama. A spokesman for Mr Duterte said he was feeling unwell.

Meanwhile, a human rights lawyer says the New Zealand government needs to grow some balls and should have stopped the President of the Philippines from coming to our shores.

Michael Bott told Larry Williams the government needs to grow a back-bone towards Duterte who has a very low regard for human rights.

He said “it’s bad enough that he’s killing people without trial, what’s worse is that when there’s innocent people, including women and children caught in the cross-fire and butchered in this way, he says it’s nothing”.

Duterte is expected to leave New Zealand on Wednesday.

Additional reporting by NZ Newswire

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