A Nepalese mother fighting to bring her disabled son to New Zealand has denied that she tried to deceive Immigration New Zealand.
Roshna Kandel, 32, first lodged a residence visa application in April 2013 that included her partner and younger son, but not Santosh Bikram Singh, now 12, who has cerebral palsy.
She has been trying unsuccessfully to sponsor him for residence since 2014 because his condition is deemed to impose undue costs on the public health system here.
Her story on the Herald website today drew nearly 400 comments from readers, with many feeling that she tried to rort the system.
Reader Kay Josephs wrote: "She should have declared the boy . . . a very deceitful thing she has done."
Another reader Arran Hunt said: "She applied to come here without him, as she knew that she wouldn't get a visa with him."
Kandel said she was "heartbroken" about the comments questioning about her being a good mother and asking her to go back to her country.
"It was not easy for me to leave my family back in Nepal and come here to struggle and settle . . . I didn't come with my younger son either when I came alone as a student in 2010," she said.
"I'd rather my son stayed in Nepal than struggle here with me but I had to bring him here because my parents were finding it too difficult to look after two."
Kandel said she did not deceive immigration and had mentioned that she had two children in her application for residence.
However, she did not think it was necessary to include Santosh in the application because he wasn't coming at the time.
"As soon as I got a fulltime job and I felt able to look after him I applied for his residency," she said.
"I have no other hidden intention other than to give a better life to my son."
But the Immigration and Protection Tribunal said the decision not to include Santosh in Kandel's application for residence, although he is a dependant child, had meant that he was now the only member of his immediate family without residence.
"The tribunal has no doubt that the appellant was not included in his mother's application because his inability to meet the acceptable standard of health required would have jeopardised the application for the entire family," it said.
"It is somewhat disingenuous for the appellant's mother to say that the appellant was not included in her application because they wished to settle in this country first."