Tyson denied visa again: Jackson blames PM

By Kate Shuttleworth

Mike Tyson had applied for a second visa - but that too has been denied by the Immigration Minister. Photo / Supplied
Mike Tyson had applied for a second visa - but that too has been denied by the Immigration Minister. Photo / Supplied

Mike Tyson's second application for a visa to visit New Zealand has been rejected.

Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson last week revoked a visa granted to the former boxer and convicted rapist when it was revealed the Life Education Trust, which would have been a beneficiary of his appearance, did not back his visit.

Maori leader and broadcaster Willie Jackson then stepped in to offer the Manukau Urban Maori Authority's support, providing Tyson visited youths in south Auckland.

Ms Wilkinson said this morning the initial decision was a "finely balanced call'' and the second attempt "was not enough to get the application over the line''.

Mr Jackson said he was disappointed for the community that Tyson wouldn't be coming.

"This is about gangsters' kids, it's about kids who've never had an opportunity - who haven't had good parenting.''

Mr Jackson blamed Prime Minister John Key for the application to the minister being denied.

"Clearly the Prime Minister wasn't going to let it happen.''

He was clear that Tyson had "mucked up'' but said he believed he had made a genuine attempt to reform his behaviour.

Mr Jackson cited his opening of the Mike Tyson Cares Foundation, to support children from broken homes, as evidence he had changed.

"He is also the biggest supporter of Women's Refuge in Nevada,'' said Mr Jackson.

"If I thought he was an animal and there was no effort to change; there's no way we would have supported him _ but we can see what he's trying to do.''

Tyson was to visit New Zealand on November 15 for a 20-hour visit, including performing his one-man show at Auckland's Vector Arena.

But overseas reviews of the show said he painted the 18-year-old he raped as a villain, made her one of his "targets of contempt'', questioned her credibility and told the audience he owed her no apology.

He also referred to women as "whores, bitches and tramps'' and joked about domestic violence against his ex-wife.

The application went to the minister because Tyson was jailed for six years for raping an 18-year-old. Anyone jailed for more than five years is ineligible for a visa. to New Zealand.

The Australian Government this week issued Tyson a visa, allowing him to go ahead with the Australian leg of his speaking tour.

His promoter Max Markson said he was "disappointed'' the second New Zealand visa application has been declined.

"But we'll just continue with the Australian tour.''

He said Tyson had been looking forward to visiting, but if New Zealanders didn't want him here he would be "fine with it''.

People who had bought tickets to the Auckland show could get a refund from Ticketmaster.

- APNZ

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