Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini has sensationally been denied entry to New Zealand to report on an anti-government protest in Wellington.
It follows a targeted campaign by the New Zealand media to paint Yemini, an experienced journalist, as a 'far-right conspiracy commentator' with officials citing the fabricated media report as evidence to deny his entry.
Qantas informed Yemini at check-in that his passport was flagged by New Zealand immigration, and he was then subjected to an over-the-phone interview with an immigration official in New Zealand.
Yemini was advised that pursuant to Section 97 of the country's 2009 Immigration Act, that the officer had the power to refuse his entry.
Sarah, the immigration officer who refused to give her last name, informed Yemini that she came to the decision on her own after reading the story in The New Zealand Herald.
Rebel News is crowdfunding legal action, instructing lawyers in New Zealand to appeal the unjust decision to deny entry of an Australian journalist.
A specialist New Zealand-based immigration law firm has begun the process.
The article immigration officer Sarah relied on for her decision appeared in the newspaper without a byline and wildly mischaracterised Yemini as an 'infamous Australian far-right misinformation superspreader' and remarked without any factual basis that both he and independent journalist Rukshan Fernando were 'known to spread misinformation and falsehoods on social media in Australia'.
The New Zealand government pushed one of the world's strictest Covid-19 elimination strategies throughout the pandemic and the nation is suffering through a cost of living crisis impacting the most vulnerable.
Widespread anti-government protests have been building across the country in response to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's leadership with an election year looming in 2023.
Last week, it was revealed that Ardern's popularity has tanked to just 30 per cent as preferred PM, marking her worst approval rating since coming into office in 2017, with at least one pollster predicting she will be dumped at the next election.
Earlier this year, Ardern's harsh governance sparked a wave of protests as freedom campaigners set up camp on parliament grounds in Wellington demanding an end to tyrnaical restrictions.
Large-scale protests have grown since with thousands of Kiwis joining in anti-government marches in cities around the country.
Ardern's soft stance on China has also come under fire as Beijing continues to cause friction among pacific nations and escalates agression against Taiwan.
Ardern dismissed her decline in the polls as a 'reflection of the times'.
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