NZ criticises Saudis, but not at expense of trade talks

Author
Michael Sergel,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Jan 2016, 6:40AM
Chris Finlayson (C) with Foreign Minister Murray McCully (R) and Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee. (Getty Images)

NZ criticises Saudis, but not at expense of trade talks

Author
Michael Sergel,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Jan 2016, 6:40AM

UPDATED 8.46AM: The New Zealand government has criticised Saudi Arabia's execution of dissidents, but trade talks aren't likely to be put on hold.

READ MORE: Fury over Saudi execution of cleric continues

LISTEN TO GRANT BAYLDON OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ABOVE 

The Saudi government has been widely excoriated for the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric and 46 other dissidents.

Duty minister Chris Finlayson said New Zealand is a long-standing opponent of the death penalty, and executions are always wrong in all cases and any circumstances.

But the government appears to have rejected the Green Party's calls to have a free trade deal with Saudi Arabia put on hold.

Finlayson insists the government regularly raises human rights issues during diplomatic talks.

Grant Bayldon of Amnesty International insists it's important there's an international chorus against human rights atrocities, and New Zealand needs to represent more than just its trade interests.

"We can still have a voice whether we're trading or not, and one of the really important things is that we do make our cause public and that the government makes its outrage public."