Liquidation last straw in overstayer's case - Peters
MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
New Zealand First is calling for Christchurch overstayer and business failure Harmon Wilfred to be deported.
Wilfred, who is behind several failed businesses in Christchurch, renounced his US citizenship in 2005 and has since been fighting to stay in the country with his wife Carolyn Wilfred-Dare, originally from Canada.
The Press revealed last week that Wilfred's main trading company, La Famia No 2 Ltd, was put into liquidation last month owing nearly $300,000 to Inland Revenue.
NZ First leader Winston Peters said Wilfred should not still be living in New Zealand.
"He is an overstayer. He has no legal right to be living here, yet the Government has done nothing to move him on. The folly of that decision can now be counted in taxpayer dollars through his failed company. Reading Wilfred's turgid history beggars belief."
The Press reported last year that in 2006, then agriculture spokesman David Carter wrote to then Labour immigration minister David Cunliffe saying Wilfred had established "considerable business interests in New Zealand specialising in communication technology".
"If Mr Wilfred is unsuccessful, then I will be making strong representations to you, seeking your intervention to ensure that Harmon and Carolyn Wilfred are able to make New Zealand their permanent home," he wrote.
In December 2009, National MP Nicky Wagner wrote a reference for the couple, saying she had "followed with interest" the development of their IT company and the work of their La Famia Charitable Trust, which had made a "big difference" in Christchurch.
Wagner told The Press at the time she had relied on Wilfred's reports on the technology company, and her grounds for saying the trust had made a big difference to Christchurch were the couple's $100,000 donation to Floyd's Creative Arts, a now defunct organisation that provided recreational arts and crafts for mentally disabled people.
Carter said he learnt through business associates that the couple had strong financial backing and were keen to invest in New Zealand.
"I knew that their interests were in IT and communications technology and in purchasing a farm. I sighted references from respected Christchurch professionals which supported Mr Wilfred's business plans."
He knew Wilfred and his wife had provided substantial financial backing to the Champion Centre, which helped young children with special needs.
Carolyn Dare-Wilfred had made a $10,000 donation to the National Party's Banks Peninsula election campaign in 2002, he said. Carter stood for the seat that year but said the donation did not affect his decision to support Wilfred in 2006.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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