Maori leader Willie Jackson has thrown his support behind
Mike Tyson coming to New Zealand and will write a letter to the
authorities today saying the former boxer could inspire South
Auckland youths to turn their lives around.
Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson yesterday
revoked a visa granted to Tyson, a convicted rapist, when it
was realised the Life Education Trust, which would have been
a charitable beneficiary, did not back his visit.
Ms Wilkinson said the original decision was a finely balanced
call and a letter of support from the Life Education Trust
had been a significant factor in approving the application.
However, it has been revealed that the letter was written by
a volunteer trustee trying to fund-raise locally.
Event promoter Max Markson said yesterday he did not accept
the minister's decision and would try to get another visa
issued for Tyson.
Overnight Mr Jackson, who is the chief executive of Manukau
Urban Maori Authority, contacted Markson and said he would
back Tyson's visit to New Zealand.
"The guy's going to come over with his wife, his two kids,
he's going to be here 20 hours, he's hardly going to be able
to rape and pillage and wreak havoc on anyone, is he?" Mr
Jackson said on RadioLive today.
"I'm into the game of redemption."
Today he would write a letter of support for Tyson.
"It's not just a financial thing for us...but the most
important thing is for him coming to South Auckland and
looking in the faces of some of the young people who've been
damaged, who've gone down the same path as him and saying to
them "hey there's another way"," Mr Jackson said.
Yesterday Prime Minister John Key said revoking Tyson's visa
was the right thing to do.
Mr Key, who has previously expressed his displeasure at
Tyson's planned visit, said he had not pressured Ms Wilkinson
to reverse her decision.
"I think she's made the right decision on the basis of the
fact that the Life Education Trust has withdrawn their
Tyson was due to arrive on November 15 for his one-man show
at Auckland's Vector Arena. He had been granted a visa
despite serving three years of a six-year sentence for raping
an 18-year-old woman in 1992. Anyone with a conviction of
more than five years' imprisonment cannot gain a New Zealand