From the start, R&B star Chris Brown cultivated a bad-boy image. That did him no favours when, six year ago, he assaulted singer Rihanna, his then girlfriend. For many people, the violence of the attack left no room for shades of grey, or for forgiveness. Brown was instantly irredeemable.
National MP Judith Collins was speaking for that group when, in response to Brown's wish to perform at the Vector Arena in December, she observed that "we've already got enough wife-beaters in this country".
Underlying this view is a belief there is little chance that criminals can be rehabilitated. On that ground, the punishment meted out to Brown - five years' probation, 180 days of community service, and attendance at a 12-month domestic violence programme - was largely a waste of time.
To some extent, Brown's subsequent erratic conduct bears that out. Yet he has also offered several apologies, spoken against domestic violence, and worked with American charities in that field.
But that cuts little ice in Australia, where he also wants to perform. Its Government has issued a notice of intent to refuse him a visa on character grounds.
There is an irony in this, because Brown has toured Australia twice since assaulting Rihanna. But its new tough line on deportation and boat people clearly extends to welcoming celebrities with criminal records. The situation three years ago, when former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist, was allowed to speak in Australia, but not New Zealand, now seems very distant.
Brown has mounted a charm offensive to try to change minds in Canberra. "My life mistakes should," he says, "be a wake-up call for everyone." That suggests a smidgen of self-awareness and maturity from someone who is still just 26.
He has also suggested that "the power we have as entertainers can change lives". That point has been taken up by former Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, who believes Brown can have an effect on domestic violence where millions of dollars and hours and hours of her time have failed.
The singer has yet to apply for a special direction visa to enter New Zealand, a requirement sparked by his banning from Britain in 2010. Presumably, there will be no application if Australia says no. But if it does eventuate, his eligibility will be judged on the circumstances of his case and the nature of the offending. As with entertainers such as Motley Crue's Tommy Lee and Vanilla Ice, who were allowed entry, he has not broken New Zealand law by being sent to prison for a year or more in the past decade, or for longer than five years outside that time.
In Brown's case, the key is not what happened six years ago; in March, a California court declared he had fulfilled the terms of his punishment for assaulting Rihanna. It is what has occurred subsequently, and his degree of contrition.
Musically, his profile has remained high. He has no real need to perform in the relatively small markets of Australia and New Zealand. Or to care if they bar his entry.
But his behaviour and charity work suggests a determination to change some aspects of his life and image. If he is prepared to speak out against domestic violence while heis in New Zealand, he should not be denied entry.