Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is defending New Zealand’s absence from the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Israel, saying that Speaker Trevor Mallard was happy to attend but the organisers said no.

National’s foreign affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee has labelled the non-appearance a “disgraceful decision”.

But Peters’ says the invitation to the forum was for heads of state and reflected a “mistaken impression” of New Zealand’s constitution, so the Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy was never an option…

Read the full story on Radio NZ here. And read the NZ Herald’s reports on Peters’ rationale for New Zealand’s absence from the forum here and here.