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Affleck’s Argo Misled World on New Zealand Role, Lawmakers Say

Ben Affleck directs and stars as Tony Mendez in
Ben Affleck directs and stars as Tony Mendez in "Argo", which depicts the rescue of six U.S. embassy workers during the Iranian revolution. Photographer: Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via Bloomberg

March 12 (Bloomberg) -- New Zealand’s parliament criticized Hollywood director and actor Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the nation’s role with respect to fleeing American hostages in the Oscar-winning film "Argo."

Lawmakers passed a motion today “expressing regret” that "Argo" depicted New Zealand as unhelpful to U.S. Embassy workers in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The motion, put forward by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, said the film misled the world, and the nation deserved a correct factual record.

“In reality, our courageous New Zealand diplomats’ inspirational actions were of significant help to the American hostages,” Peters said in the Wellington sitting.

Affleck directed and starred in "Argo," which depicts the rescue of six U.S. Embassy workers during the Iranian revolution. The film suggests that the New Zealand and Britain embassies in Iran turned away the hostages before Canada gave them shelter. It won Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards.

Affleck had “struggled” with New Zealand and Britain’s portrayal, saying it wasn’t “totally fair,” the New Zealand Herald reported him as saying in an interview last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Bourke in Wellington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Bourke at

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