NZ should have barred ‘tough guy’ Duterte visit, says Human Rights Foundation

President Rodrigo Duterte ... "engaging character" but extrajudicial killings off the agenda. Image: ANU/AsiaPacifiic

The chairman of the Human Rights Foundation says New Zealand has standards for granting visas, and he does not think the president of the Philippines would meet them, reports Newztalk ZB.

President Rodrigo Duterte was in Auckland this week to refuel his plane on his way back from the APEC meeting in Peru. He met with New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully last night for an hour.

Foundation spokesman Peter Hosking told Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams he was not sure if McCully would have tackled President Duterte on his human rights record, or on APEC, the foundation’s website reports.

“It certainly wasn’t on any agenda that I know of. Perhaps there were some leaders who had a private word with him, but I’m not particularly confident about that either.”

‘Quiet charming’
After last night’s meeting, Murray McCully described President Duterte as “a tough guy but he was warm, courteous and actually quite charming”, the foundation website says.

“He’s a very engaging character and it’s not difficult to discuss sensitive issues with him. He is very happy to engage on those issues.”

McCully would not confirm whether they talked about the extrajudicial killings Duterte has encouraged although he said it was wide-ranging discussion and included the South China Seas, the foundation website says.

“We talked about everything,” McCully said. “I don’t want to talk publicly about what was a private discussion but we discussed the full range of issues.

“He doesn’t beat around the bush. He has got quite firm views and he expresses them, and very colourfully.”

McCully said his meeting was a courtesy call because president was in the country on his return from APEC and it was “the appropriate thing to do to have someone from the government call on him and welcome him and make sure that he is being looked after here.”

Human Rights Foundation spokesman Peter Hosking talks to Newztalk ZB’s Larry Williams

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