The prime minister has been praised for taking a strong stand after revealing he had turned down "numerous" Kiwis for New Year and Queen's Birthday honours because they had convictions for violence against women.
John Key's comments follow Immigration New Zealand granting former boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson a visa to bring his one-man show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, to New Zealand next month.
The 46-year-old American spent three years in prison from 1992 for raping 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room. He continues to deny the crime.
Mr Key said granting the visa was a "marginal call" and was based on the fact that Tyson's conviction was 20 years ago and he would be in New Zealand "for about 20 hours".
Immigration officials took a "fairly liberal" view if a crime was a long time ago and there had been no further offending, he said. "I don't have anything personally against Mike Tyson, but I have something deeply personal against people who rape other people and commit crimes against women."
The prime minister has final say over who is given honours accolades, and contenders are subject to a police check. Mr Key said he overlooked speeding tickets and historic drink-driving convictions, but not crimes of violence.
Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said Mr Key was showing leadership.
"You would hope it would be a deterrent to people. Unfortunately it is not enough of a deterrent."
Ms Henare said it was bizarre Tyson was coming as an inspirational speaker.
"What kind of role model are we putting out there when he is still in denial for what he has done?"
- © Fairfax NZ News
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