Prime Minister Christopher Luxon didn’t discuss any human rights concerns when he met with Philippine’s President Bongbong Marcos in Manila.

The Philippines has been conducting a “war on drugs” which has led to the extrajudicial killings of thousands of methamphetamine users and President Marcos was refusing to cooperate with the International Criminal Court which was investigating.

The War on Drugs was launched under former Philippine’s president Rodrigo Duterte, who became known as “The Punisher” , and estimates of the numbers killed ranged from around 8000 to 20,000.

This week, Marcos told domestic media he would not hand over Duterte if a warrant was issued for him by the International Criminal Court.

Human Rights Watch says the killings have significantly decreased under Marcos but they have continued.

In late 2023, it said 471 people had been killed in drug-related violence under Marcos “perpetrated both by law enforcers and unidentified assailants”.

Asked whether New Zealand should be forging closer military ties with a Government that killed so many of its own people, Luxon responded, “look, what we do is we work with our partners across the region, across the world we have trading relationships with many countries, we raise our concerns when we have them”.

When it was pointed he didn’t raise any concerns he responded “our focus was on other things in this conversation we were focused very much on regional tensions…”

Luxon’s response left the Aotearoa-Philippines Solidarity unimpressed.

“The first thing he should have done is said we’re not going to have closer military ties until such time as you smarten up on your human rights,” Sheryl Cadman told 1News today.

“I think its gutless and shameful.”