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Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2004

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Christchurch, NZ, Wednesday, August 4, 2004


'Banned' visitors allowed into NZ


THE Immigration Service approved 34 visits to New Zealand last year by people automatically banned under the same law being used by the Government to halt the visit of historian David Irving.

Prime Minister Helen Clark has blocked the visit of the controversial Holocaust revisionist on the grounds that the Immigration Act bars entry to anyone previously deported from another country.

"It's not their (Immigration Service) decision," Miss Clark said on Monday [Aug 2]. "The way our law is written if he has been deported from another country he is automatically denied entry to New Zealand.

"It would take a special positive direction to give him entry and that I imagine would have to come up to the level of a minister and I would be astonished if the minister allowed him entry," she said.

Information obtained from the service yesterday shows that 81 people were denied entry to New Zealand under Section 7 of the Immigration Act in the year to July. The section deals with visitors with criminal convictions, deportation orders, or a history of drug possession.

This section is being used to ban Irving, who was deported from Canada 13 years ago and has a minor conviction for breaching a German law designed to clamp down on neo-Nazi groups.

But in the same period, 34 visits by people banned under Section 7 were subsequently approved on appeal to the service - none of which went to the Immigration Minister Paul Swain.

Service spokeswoman Kathryn O'Sullivan said the service itself had dealt with all of the applications for special directions under Section 7.

Just six were declined, and five were withdrawn. The service declined to consider 18 applications.

Section 7 of the Immigration Act allows ministerial intervention for any reason the Government sees fit.



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