Not barred for their music

The Stuff headline:

Radical musician barred on way to Nelson gig

A musician got barred due to his music? That’s appalling you’re meant to think.

A radical American singer-songwriter set to perform in Nelson this evening has been denied entry into the country.

David Rovics has written political songs on topics such as the Iraq war and whistleblower Bradley Manning.

He was to play six concerts throughout New Zealand as part of his world tour, including at the Free House in Nelson tonight.

The first three paragraphs makes it look like we now ban people from coming to New Zealand because of the lyrics of their songs. But read on.

The agent asked if he would make any money, to which he replied he hoped to make “a little money”. Rovics said he did not have a work permit, but hoped he could get one on arrival.

He was then questioned about being strip-searched on suspicion of drug smuggling in Norway.

He was also asked about being banned from Canada for a year when he tried to play a gig he did not have a work visa for.

Rovics quoted the agent as saying, “You can’t board that flight. You’re not welcome in New Zealand.”

Rovics then asked if the agent had read his political blog, to which she responded she had.

A spokesperson for Immigration New Zealand confirmed Rovics had been barred from boarding the flight because he did not meet immigration entry requirements. These included having sufficient funds and the work visa required.

“Mr Rovics has openly talked on his blog about his drug use and being banned from Canada for providing false information to an immigration officer.”

I think the moral of the story is don’t lie to immigration officers, and if you do lie to them, don’t blog about how you lied to them.

I’m pleased to see that Immigration NZ do some basic stuff such as googling on incoming travellers with no work visa.

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