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Far-right Canadian speakers granted visas to visit New Zealand

Newshub logoNewshub 19/07/2018 Emma Hurley

a person posing for the camera © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

Two controversial far-right speakers from Canada have been granted temporary work visas to visit New Zealand for public speaking purposes.

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux will be allowed into the country for 10 days, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced on Friday morning.

However he has distanced himself and the Government from their views, calling them "repugnant".

The pair made headlines when they were refused an Auckland Council venue, leading to legal action from people who see it as an obstruction of freedom of speech.

"Immigration's decision in no way condones the views expressed by the pair, which are repugnant to this Government and run counter to the kind and tolerant values of the vast majority of New Zealanders," Mr Lees-Galloway said.

While he understands many would prefer if the pair didn't set foot in New Zealand at all, they meet Immigration's criteria to be granted visas, including character requirements.

"Neither speaker has been convicted of a crime, nor banned from the United Kingdom or Australia as has been previously reported," he said.

They are scheduled to speak in Auckland on August 3, however no venue has been announced.

An event listing on their promoter Axiomatic's website says the company is "exploring all options available to us in the wake of the Mayor’s decree that views he disagrees with will be discriminated against in public buildings".

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