Prime Minister questions Tyson New Zealand visa decision

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 01 October 2012

The former champion is due to speak at an event in Auckland in November as part of his Day of the Champions show; a motivational lecture through the troubled boxer's career directed by Spike Lee.

However, the New Zealand leg of the tour was thrown into doubt when questions were raised as to Tyson's elibility to obtain a New Zealand visa.

Current New Zealand immigration policy states that anyone who has been imprisoned for at leat five years cannot obtain a visa; Tyson was sentenced to six years for the 1991 rape of Desiree Washington.

However, Tyson only served three years of his sentence and has since turned his troubled life around. The former hitman said he would not beg to enter New Zealand but it appeared such measures would not be necesseray when his promoters announced the show would go ahead as planned.

But now Prime Minister John Key has expressed his puzzlement over the decision, saying he didn't approve of 'sanctioned behavious in that regard'.

Speaking to TVNZ, Mr key said that while he appreciated the offence was almost 20 years ago, he would never have approved a visa to anyone convicted of such a serious crime.

"I can see it from both sides, maybe it was a long time ago, but in my view they are very, very serious issues," said the prime minister.

"Sometimes we make decisions tht people have done the crime, done the time and they no longer present the threat may have been the case.

"Other times we say that's a black mark against you and we will never look through that."


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.