NZ visa requirements too tough on former “criminals”


One of the problems with our criminal justice system, and that of other countries, is the ongoing prejudice against former prisoners. Even though they “done their time” former offenders often face problems in getting accommodation, jobs – and in travelling to other countries.

The latter problem is highlighted by the hoops that Chelsea Manning has to go through to get a New Zealand visa, just to address a couple of meetings.

Wouldn’t it be best to drop the need to disclose previous convictions on our visitors’ visa form. It wouldn’t be a novel step. There is no such requirement on visa forms to visit the Schengen Area (consisting of 22 European Union nations plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein). It is possible you’ll be questioned upon entry to the Schengen Area, and possibly excluded if you’ve been to prison for more than 3 years, but the Europeans have a much more lenient policy than the Anglo countries (particularly the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).

A more lenient policy also makes common sense. Nobody believes a visiting speaker such as Chelsea Manning (or a visiting rock star with a drug conviction) is likely to commit a serious crime during their short visit. Our present rules give arbitrary powers to NZ Immigration (and its Ministers) to refuse visas on either moral grounds (witness the exclusion of boxer Mike Tyson in 2012) or political grounds (which might have happened to Chelsea Manning if National’s Michael Woodhouse had remained Immigration Minister).

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Woodhouse said Chelsea Manning’s visit would not have “enhanced” New Zealand’s “very good and friendly relationship with the US.” Woodhouse believes the right of New Zealanders to hear a visiting speaker is not as important as keeping “friendly relations with the US.” Such bowing to the wishes of a bigger power has a history in New Zealand. In the late 1970s National’s Prime Minister Robert Muldoon blocked East Timorese independence campaigner Jose Ramos Horta (later President of Timor Leste) from visiting New Zealand on a speaking tour. Muldoon didn’t want to upset the Indonesian government.

Once a political speaker (from the Right or the Left) has been excluded from one country, because of political prejudice, that counts against them visiting another country. In New Zealand, for example, visiting speakers who have been denied entry, or expelled from another country, have to go through the hassle of getting a waiver before they can come here. Sometimes tours by left-wing activists have been seriously disrupted by delays in getting visas in time, with the extra processing time being due to a (politically-motivated) exclusion from another country, or the person having a “criminal” record for standing up against a repressive government. Unfortunately, New Zealand visa rules are constructed on the assumption that most other governments operate in a just and democratic manner. This is far from the truth. Just count up the number of political leaders, past and present, whose earlier political activities brought them before the Courts – Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi being but the most prominent examples.

In the world today, restrictions on political speakers visiting other countries affect left-wing speakers more than conservative speakers. But we should also defend the right of conservatives, like Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, to speak here. Otherwise we undermine our case.


  1. Our global scene is now under espionage activity as a war on our own Government is being destabilised so we need whistle blowers not shutting them down at a time of an undeclared war going on!!!!

    China is hacking into our government files while countries are employing tarrifs on imported gods from other countries so if this is not war what the fuck is?????

    • China Did not Hack the White House emails,
      Hillary invited them onto her Pay for Play homebrew server
      It practically was an open book! – for ‘donations’
      She had many SAP’s & ‘Confidential’ e-mails
      ( no ‘C’ did not stand for cookie &
      no she did not use a cloth to wipe it after her Subpoena)

  2. If the price of understanding the machinations of big power is putting up with some right wing dog whistles then that’s what we pay.

  3. This is the end of Neo-Liberalism and the global free trade movement, its not a war YET, The Global Cartels are doing their best to Bankrupt us all country by country :ie Grease, Venezuela.
    Everyone can smell a global financial collapse on the wind, thats why “business confidence” is in the toilet.
    Folks are ripping their funds out of paper and putting it in gold, the more adventurous into Cryto, which is vulnerable to internet disruption.
    Tune ya fiddles boys, Romes about to burn, (.)(.) up is the term i beleave.

  4. I was thinking, “would I die in a ditch for those two canadians”, when it occurred to me that actually, we are people who do die in ditches with canadians, sometimes. What I mean is I suppose with great chagrin we have to embrace our awkward allies warts and all, as we would hope they would with us in some sort of forced feeling reciprocity of kinship type deal. I guess it’s only fair.

    But that said, if anyone deserved a brief brush with unfair treatment it was arguably them at that exact time after what I heard of the aboriginal comments and all the rest of the culture wars rhetoric they vomit. Which is also unfair treatment

  5. “One of the problems with our criminal justice system, and that of other countries, is the ongoing prejudice against former prisoners. Even though they “done their time” former offenders often face problems in getting accommodation, jobs – and in travelling to other countries.”

    This is because of the high rate of re-offending.

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