Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte stopped over on his way back from meeting with Apec leaders in Peru. Photo / AP
UPDATED 9.26PM The Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation says New Zealand has standards for granting visas, and he wouldn’t have thought the president of the Philippines would meet them.
President Rodrigo Duterte is in Auckland to refuel his plane on his way back from the APEC meeting in Peru. He met with New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully tonight for an hour.
Foundation spokesman Peter Hosking told Larry Williams he’s not assured Mr McCully would have tackled President Duterte on his human rights record, and he suspects it wasn’t confronted at APEC either.
“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.”
After tonight’s meeting, Murray McCully described President Duterte as “a tough guy but he was warm, courteous and actually quite charming”.
“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 extra-judicial killings Duterte has encouraged although he said it was wide ranging discussion and included the South China Seas.
“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.”