Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

'Wolf of Wall St' more welcome than Nigella

Celebrity cook needs special dispensation to enter NZ while jailed fraudster is eligible for a visa

Nigella Lawson. Photo / AP
Nigella Lawson. Photo / AP

Nigella Lawson needs special permission to visit New Zealand, but the "Wolf of Wall Street" will be eligible for a visa when he comes next month, despite having been jailed for fraud.

Last week it was revealed that British television cook Lawson had to get a special dispensation to visit New Zealand next month because she had been refused entry to the United States after publicly admitting using cocaine and marijuana.

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However, no such dispensation is needed for Jordan Belfort on his visit to speak at investment seminars. A spokesman said Mr Belfort was yet to apply for a visa, but he was eligible because his sentence was less than five years and the conviction was more than 10 years ago.

Only those sentenced to more than five years are ineligible for a visa for life.

Mr Belfort's memoirs prompted The Wolf of Wall Street movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Mr Belfort was charged in 1998 with securities fraud and money laundering and served 22 months in prison after investors lost about $200 million. Investors are still chasing the full $110 million he was ordered to pay in restitution.

Asked if that was fair given she has no convictions, Prime Minister John Key said that was the reason there was discretion in some cases.

"The purpose of having an override by the officials is to deal with this very kind of example, that somebody who hasn't actually been convicted of something may still be worthy of being granted a visitor's visa to New Zealand."

Those ineligible for visas include people who have convictions, have been deported or refused entry to New Zealand or another country in the past, those considered a threat to security or public order, and members of terrorist groups.

Lawson, a celebrity cook, admitted taking the drugs during the fraud trial in January of two former aides who were acquitted of funding a luxury lifestyle with credit cards she and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi lent them.


Access denied

People who will "normally be refused entry permission" to New Zealand include:

• Those who have been "removed, excluded or deported from another country"

• Those who have been convicted and sentenced to five or more years in prison, or who have been convicted and sentenced to 12 months or more in the past 10 years.


- Additional reporting: Agencies

- NZ Herald

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