Documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request show I was denied entry to New Zealand because the Ardern government feared my “propensity to agitate people with opposing views”, not because of a minor criminal conviction.
I was sensationally turned away at the New Zealand border when I attempted to enter the country to report on anti-government protests in August.
New Zealand immigration officials told the mainstream media I had been refused entry to the country due to a historic criminal conviction.
But documents obtained under an FOI request prove New Zealand officials knew my historical criminal conviction did not meet the threshold for preventing someone from entering the country.
READ THE DOCUMENTS:
Instead, they had made a pre-determined decision to refuse colleague Rukshan Fernando and I entry before they knew if we were even travelling to New Zealand.
In correspondence from the New Zealand Immigration Department, border control officers were told to speak with us in the event we arrived and “assess their intentions of travel with a view to having them turned at the border”.
In other words, they did not know if we were coming to New Zealand, but their intention was to ban us if we did.
Border control officers were instructed that, in the event we arrived in the country, they needed to go through the motions and pretend to assess our reasons for travelling. The real problem, they were reminded, was “the propensity for both individuals to incite and agitate people with opposing views”.
The documents prove that New Zealand officials knew my criminal conviction was not reason enough to deny me entry to New Zealand even as they used it as justification to send me back to Australia.
Correspondence between immigration officials shows them celebrating my deportation.
“Thanks team. Great work from the Border Control team. I have been advised that Yemini was refused entry into New Zealand turned around at the border. Excellent work!,” they were told.
That a so-called democracy is secretly plotting to ban journalists from entering a country because they have “opposing views” should worry everyone.