Chris Brown cancels his tour to Australia and New Zealand
Chris Brown's tour to New Zealand and Australia has been cancelled, in a move welcomed by politicians opposed to his visit.
A statement from his promoters, Castor and Ford, issued on Wednesday morning, confirmed the Australasian leg of Brown's One Hell of a Nite tour will not take place.
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Before the announcement, it had been speculated that Brown might be forced to cancel the New Zealand leg after the R&B star was denied a visa to enter Australia: it's a costly move to bring a US star to solely play New Zealand dates.
On Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Immigration New Zealand said: "Immigration New Zealand can confirm that Chris Brown withdrew his application for a work visa to travel to New Zealand. No decision had been made on the application. Any further queries need to be directed to the concert promoter."
The promoters' New Zealand spokesman, Jevan Goulter, did not want to elaborate on a brief statement in which Brown offered his "deepest condolences" for cancelling the gig: "Mr Brown wishes to express his deepest gratitude to the fans for their support and looks forward to a successful tour in the near future. Mr Brown and the promoters both remain positive that a tour will take place in the near future."
Brown is technically barred from entering New Zealand, as he has been unable to enter other countries due to his felony convictions and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said Brown would need a "special direction" waiver to enter the country.
Support for Brown's New Zealand visa application had come from an unlikely source: Dame Tariana Turia said she would back his application.
The former leader of the Maori Party said she would write a letter of recommendation for the singer. Dame Tariana, who has worked to reduce domestic violence for decades, believed Brown would speak on his past while in New Zealand, prompting his young fans to think seriously about domestic violence.
"Give him the opportunity to come and engage our young people, who want him to come," she said.
However her sentiments were not shared by Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox, who felt "there were better examples" than Brown to spread the anti-violence message here in NZ.
"What I'm very clear about is that a celebrity, no matter who you are, should be subject to the same rules as everybody else," she said. "Just because you're a celebrity or a politician or anybody who has a name or a public profile, does not give you an automatic pass card to come into our country."
After the cancellation was announced, Fox said she was not aware of Brown's reasons for cancelling the concerts but he had probably realised his visa would not be approved.
"It [a decision] wasn't made, it was anticipated probably by him, but he's made that decision based on his own ideals and I'm not sad about that."
Green Party women's affairs spokeswoman Jan Logie said Brown's decision was "a positive move".
"It's good that he's read the environment in New Zealand and realised obviously that he's not able to contribute until he's rehabilitated himself in a way that will meet the demands of New Zealand."
Brown was convicted in 2009 of assaulting and threatening to kill his then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna. He was sentenced to five years of probation. Since 2009, Brown has had multiple run-ins with the law. The R&B singer was booked to play Vector Arena in Auckland in late December.
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