11 Feb 2013

NZ Green Party upset at decision to stop activist from speaking at Parliament

4:11 pm on 11 February 2013

The New Zealand Green Party is disappointed at the parliamentary speaker's decision to stop a West-Papuan political activist from speaking at Parliament.

David Carter has turned down an application from the Green, Labour and Mana Parties to host Benny Wenda at a public function in Parliament on the grounds it is not appropriate.

Benny Wenda is the head of a freedom campaign that is fighting for the independence of West Papua, which is part of Indonesia.

The Green MP, Catherine Delahunty, says the Speaker's decision goes against the spirit of Parliament.

"It's not good enough to say, well you can do this in your caucus room. I wanted to hold a forum which included other political parties where they have shown an interest in this issue. This is an issue which basically is the dirty secret of the Pacific which no one wants to talk about. The facility called parliament belongs to all parliamentarians and without fear or favour we should be able to hold events in this facility."

Ms Delahunty says Benny Wenda will instead speak at Victoria University, opposite Parliament, tomorrow.

The Speakers office says MPs can raise any concerns with the Parliamentary Service Commission.