The Government has received a fresh visa application for Mike Tyson to visit New Zealand.
Associate Minister of Immigration Kate Wilkinson revoked Tyson's visa last week, after revelations that a letter of support from the Life Education Trust came from a volunteer trustee, and not the national charity itself.
But just a day later, Tyson found another charitable organisation to support his bid for a New Zealand visa and today Ms Wilkinson's office confirmed it had received a new application.
Willie Jackson, chair of the Urban Maori Authority, says his organization will sponsor Tyson's trip to New Zealand.
“We are not bringing Mike Tyson here to rape anyone. We are bringing Mike Tyson here to change people's lives,” Mr Jackson says.
The Urban Maori Authority works with at-risk Maori in South Auckland and helps people to turn their lives around.
“I want to put Mike Tyson in front of people who need support, who need a message," Mr Jackson says. "Why would people be opposed to that?
“We see Mike Tyson’s life [as a] reflection of life in South Auckland so a bloke who’s turned his life around would give hope to a lot of people in South Auckland.”
The minister would not comment on the merits or otherwise of Tyson’s application, but said she would carry it out in due process.
Ms Wilkinson had said that if another organisation came forward to partner with Tyson she would consider the application again, taking into consideration the type of charity, and the benefit to them.
Mr Jackson says if the minister said yes to Life Education, it should say yes to his organisation. He says Tyson is a good man now.
“What happened was 20 years ago, and our organisation is built on redemption and we’ve had worse people than Mike Tyson come through our organization.
“I’ll make a bet with anyone that Tyson won’t rape anyone in his 20 hours here.”
But Labour immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton says if the visa was granted again it would be a highly unprecedented move.
“I'm not aware of any case where special direction has been asked for, declined, and then re-considered.”
Tyson's promoters are still selling tickets for his one-man show.
Tyson hits out after visa decision
Three days after he was banned from New Zealand, Mike Tyson criticised the decision to revoke his visa because of his rape conviction.
The former heavyweight champion was to travel to Auckland in November before authorities on Wednesday denied him entry. Tyson had been hoping to perform his one-man show called Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth.
"I just wanted to go down there and just have a show," Tyson said. "Unfortunately that had to happen. It's one of those things in life that happens. It's life on life's terms and everyone has to deal with that and those uncertainties."
Tyson had wanted to meet New Zealand's indigenous Maori people, the inspiration for his prominent facial tattoo.
"The people wanted me to come," he said. "If it was a fair organization, a fair fight, I would be there but I got vetoed by the higher power."
Tyson served three years in prison after the 1991 rape of an 18-year-old woman in an Indianapolis hotel room. He said Saturday, while in London to launch new boxing gear, that the negative experiences in his life have shaped his character.
"Anything that I would have got away from – being in prison, having fights, biting [Evander] Holyfield, lack of that – my life would be miserable," Tyson said.
Tags: Mike Tyson