Journalist detained after breaching visa conditions in Nauru

Yesterday 1 News journalist Barbara Dreaver reported from Nauru that her visa stated she could only report on things related to the Pacific Islands Forum.

Today she was detained when she reported on things not related to the Forum.

1 News (3 September):  Leaders begin arriving at contentious Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru

Leaders have started arriving in Nauru for what’s expected to be one of the most challenging Pacific Islands Forum’s in its 49-year history.

Nauru is home to an Australian detention centre with more than 900 refugees and asylum seekers on the island – about 100 of them children.

The increasingly authoritarian Government has targeted opposition MPs, the judiciary and freedom of speech.

Most countries have only been able to send three journalists and the visa states the journalist can only report on the Pacific Islands forum and related events.

1 News (4 September):  Respected 1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver detained by police on Nauru, stripped of accreditation

Dreaver was interviewing a refugee in a café when authorities took exception.

Also: 1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver released after being detained by police in Nauru

1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver has been released, after being detained by authorities in Nauru while covering the Pacific Islands Forum.

She has been stripped of her media accreditation for the forum.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told 1 NEWS it’s understood Dreaver may be accused of breaching the conditions of her visa.

Most countries have only been able to send three journalists and the visa states the journalist can only report on the Pacific Islands forum and related events.

Head of News and Current Affairs John Gillespie said it was highly concerning a journalist doing their job had been detained.

Her cameraman says he and Dreaver had visited a refugee camp to speak with a refugee.

Within a minute of starting an interview in the cabin of the refugee’s mother, security knocked and asked if they had permission to film.

I guess Dreaver and 1 News got what they wanted – attention and headlines.

But they can hardly grizzle about Dreaver being detained when it appears she deliberately, blatantly breached the conditions of her visa. She must have known she risked being detained and discredited and deported.

The Australians treat refugees poorly on Nauru, and Nauru authorities have draconian restrictions on journalists, but rules are rules when you visit countries.

This looks like a deliberate stunt by Dreaver.

It may risk limiting what other journalists are able to report on while in Nauru.



Ardern’s separate flight to Nauru

An Air Force Boeing 757 has dropped Winston Peters off at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru, is flying back to new Zealand and returning with Jacinda Ardern for a one day visit.

It has been reported that the reason Ardern couldn’t go with Peters was so she would not be away from her baby too long – Neve was not able to travel with her because she is too young for the necessary vaccinations.

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern defends travelling separately to Nauru for Pacific Islands Forum

The main New Zealand delegation, including Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and a media contingent, arrived in Nauru for the forum on Monday.

Ardern will be travelling to the Micronesia island on Wednesday in the same Air Force plane, which will have to return to New Zealand to pick her up.

The prime minister could not go for the longer period as her 11-week-old daughter, Neve, is too young to be given the appropriate vaccinations for the trip and, thus, could not travel with her.

Ardern said she had weighed up whether or not to go and had asked about how much extra it might cost. She was told the extra cost would not be exorbitant and the plane could not stay on Nauru anyway, as there was not enough room on the runway to store it.

Weighing up the logistics around travel I asked officials to check what the extra costs I would be imposing on the crown would be if I were to travel separately,” Ardern said.

“They assured me that because of the 757 not being able to remain on Nauru anyway, but having to leave the island so other planes could come in and depart – and also the fact that if it wasn’t flying there it would be taking up an hour somewhere else anyway, then on balance I decided it was worth me travelling.”

She made the comments after Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper estimated on Monday morning the extra fuel costs would be about $50,000.

There have been various claims of cost, including $80,000 and $100,000.

Ardern said the plane’s flying hours were budgeted for anyway and would likely be flown for “training hours” if not used for the five-and-a-half-hour trip back to New Zealand.

The original plan was to send the plane to the Marshall Islands an hour’s flight away to get it off Nauru.

The actual additional costs are debatable.

There will no doubt be further added costs catering for Ardern’s baby.

But there will be decisions made all the time that impact on costs like this. The cost of governing and the cost of Foreign Affairs travel are substantial.

This puts some perspective on the recent news of Simon Bridges travel expenses for three months, quoted at over $100,000 but he would have normally been expected to incur at least half of this without raising eyebrows or opponent’s hackles and heckles.

This travel cost to Nauru is small change compared to overall costs in conducting foreign affairs in the Pacific – see Foreign Affairs funding boosted by $1b with no clear plan.

It is also likely that the foreign travel budget for Ardern will be lower for a while than if she had not have her baby.

Peters’ foreign travel costs, usually substantial for a Minister of Foreign Affairs, will have been much lower for the eight weeks he was acting Prime Minister while Ardern was on maternity leave.

So the overall cost of our Prime Minister having and caring for a baby may have little if any effect on overall Government expenses.

Quibbling over one-off expenses seems pointless and perhaps petty.

If Ardern and her Government turn out to have much higher expenses per year and over their three year term then there may be grounds for grizzling, but the Nauru flight on it’s own does not seem to be a big deal to me.


Q & A – US Politics, Shearer, Nauru, Mahe

This morning on Q & A:

talks with Derek Shearer a former Bill Clinton advisor and US ambassador

And then talks about what NZ’s response should be to the

Leaked files detailing abuse of asylum seekers on Nauru speaks to a fmr aid worker abt what she saw

The Nauru revelations look awful, and it makes Australian handling of asylum seekers look awful.

Guardian: The Nauru files: cache of 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention:

Exclusive: The largest cache of documents to be leaked from within Australia’s asylum seeker detention regime details assaults, sexual assaults and self-harm


I don’t know what New Zealand can do about it but some condemnation wouldn’t go amiss.

Also we’ll have the latest from | We will talk to defending Olympic champion + more

It will be good to see Mahe but I have no idea why Q & A devote some of their time to Olympic coverage when there is so much coverage elsewhere.