Wednesday, October 03, 2012

We don’t welcome ex-convicts, New Zealand tells Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson's chequered past has come back to haunt him as his visa to New Zealand where he is to perform a one-man show has been cancelled just a day after it was issued. His promoter however says he's not giving up on this one quite yet.

Mike Tyson's visa  application was supported by a letter of recommendation purportedly written by Life Education Trust (LET). However, LET has withdrawn the letter, claiming that it was written by a volunteer who was not authorised to do such a thing in the first place.

New Zealand bans anyone from obtaining a visa if they have been sentenced to prison sentences of five years or more. Tyson served three years of a six-year sentence for his 1992 conviction. The visit by Tyson has been in the New Zealand media for weeks, and Prime Minister John Key opposed granting the visa.

Tyson, who spent time in jail after a 1992 rape conviction, was granted a special visa but the Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson overturned the decision to allow him into the country.  

Max Markson, the promoter behind the visit, says he's hoping to get the visa reissued.  “It would be a tragedy if Mike Tyson could not come to New Zealand to do his show,” he said, adding, “We'll see if we can get a visa issued again. They've issued it once, hopefully it might be issued again.”

Markson has previously arranged New Zealand appearances by President Clinton and Tony Blair, so he's got some experience in making big appearances happen. Tickets to the event are still on sale and platinum tickets are priced at $395.

Mike Tyson was due to arrive in New Zealand Nov. 15. Some say that he has done his time and reformed himself, so the conviction from 20 years ago should not impact his ability to get a visa.

Prior to the news that Tyson's visa was cancelled, he mentioned he was looking forward to the trip. He shared, “Fortunately, I am coming to New Zealand and there's nothing they can do about it and I'm so sorry, I'm sorry they feel disappointed and I'm just living my life.” So far Tyson hasn't commented publicly on the visa cancellation.


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