Further details have emerged in the world press over the way in which Kim Dotcom (founder of the Megaupload site) gained permanent residence in New Zealand.
It would seem that, when it comes to immigration at least, money talks and big money talks loudest.
This is an excerpt from an article published in the British newspaper The Daily Mail, telling how Dotcom allegedly issued an ultimatum to New Zealand immigration officials and threatened to take his business to another country.
He set a deadline for NZIS to act on his application and threatened to move to Australia or Canada if they didn’t meet it. Even though immigration staff knew he was controlling the processing of his application, and could be seen as ‘buying residence,’ the application was approved.
Furthermore, just after he was granted residence in New Zealand he was found guilty and fined for crimes in Hong Kong, but immigration officials in New Zealand decided those offences weren’t serious enough to warrant deportation:
“At the time his residency application was being considered, Dotcom had made charitable contributions in New Zealand and was planning to sponsor a fireworks show for the city of Auckland at a cost of 600,000 New Zealand dollars ($492,000).
He set a deadline for immigration officials to act on his application and threatened to move to Australia or Canada if they didn’t meet it.
‘The applicant has already made a substantial economic contribution to New Zealand through his spending here and will make further investments,’ immigration official Chris Biggs wrote.
‘I consider that these benefits and potential benefits outweigh the negative aspects flowing from the applicant’s convictions.’
Immigration official Jan Clark told the AP that due process was followed and all elements of Dotcom’s application were appropriately considered.
New Zealand records show that Dotcom first applied for New Zealand residency in June 2010 under a special category for wealthy investors. Before that, he had been living in Hong Kong, where Megaupload is registered.
Dotcom’s immigration agent, David Cooper, described him in application papers as a billionaire, a term immigration officials repeated in their own assessments. Cooper said the description came from Dotcom himself.
Subsequent asset seizures, however, indicate Dotcom’s wealth to be far less than $1billion.
On October 26, 2010, immigration manager, Gareth Grigg, sent a memo to a colleague noting Dotcom’s charitable contributions, but also noted in a section titled ‘Risks‘ that: ‘Mr Dotcom may be seen to be controlling the processing of his application;’ that he may ‘attract ‘buying residence’ criticism;’ and that proceeding with the application without all the outstanding information ‘may amount to Mr Dotcom being afforded special treatment because of his wealth.’
Two months after he was granted residency, Dotcom was convicted in Hong Kong on several counts of failing to disclose his shareholding levels to the Securities and Futures Commission, and was fined 8,000 Hong Kong dollars ($1,031). New Zealand immigration authorities decided the convictions were too minor to consider deporting Dotcom.
Megaupload was shut down in January when Dotcom was arrested. Dotcom did not suggest that government officials illegally shared copyrighted material…” read more
Want to know more about the workings of New Zealand’s immigration service?
Earlier this month the Labour party obtained a cabinet paper that revealed National was planning a raft of confidential immigration changes that somehow seem to have been ‘left out’ of last month’s official briefing to the incoming Minister.
‘Somehow’ a copy of that confidential paper found its way to Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton, who issued a press about it here, saying Immigration New Zealand was planning to create a two-tier system where applications from parents sponsored by their higher income children, or those who bring a guaranteed income or funds, would be processed faster than other applications. This effectively would give preference to the wealthy.
You can read the leaked document by clicking on the link to the Scoop.co.nz website below.
This appeared on the forum at Expatexposed.com (thanks to Moonlight for the link) and gives a summary of the main points of the document:
“This is essential reading for anyone who’s interested in the workings of the NZIS. The Labour Party got a copy of it and released it via Scoop.
It includes:The attraction and timely processing of people for the Canterbury rebuild, without risking Kiwi jobs.The Canterbury rebuild is likely to begin in earnest in the second quarter of 2012, peaking around a year later.Changes to the migrant levy.The axing of the Ministry of Social Development’s Migrant Employment Assistance initiative because it was unsuccessful.
The closure of the Sibling and Adult Category.
A two-tier process whereby applications from parents who are sponsored by higher income sponsors, or who bring a guaranteed income or funds (Tier One) will be processed faster than other sponsored parents (Tier Two).
Net migration is negative and people are leaving New Zealand, mostly for Australia.
A drop in visa applications will result in a projected $44 million deficit of the memorandum account at 30 June 2012.
The failure of the present Refugee Resettlement Strategy. “Refugee resettlement outcomes are currently poor – employment rates and educational achievement are low, and benefit take-up rates and state housing tenancies are high.”
And much more.”
Planning to emigrate to New Zealand in the near future? we think that the wealthier you are the better your chances will be. Which is incongruous for a country that markets itself to migrants on its simple lifestyle attractions.
Perhaps the truth is that only those who have the lifestyles of the rich and famous should apply. John Key said recently the super- rich are good for New Zealand. How good for New Zealand does that make you?
If you don’t have bags of cash to throw at this you may as well save yourself the costly application fees. Remember Dotcom’s options are also open to you – Australia and Canada.
You may also be interested in Titanic director James Cameron buys Kiwi farms:
“Wairarapa will soon be home to another Hollywood director after James Cameron bought two farms in the district.
The Avatar and Titanic director plans to live on the South Wairarapa properties with his family.
Land Information New Zealand documents show sales have been approved by the Overseas Investment Office for two blocks, of 817ha and 248ha at Western Lake Rd.
The land was sold to Anglin Classics, a firm owned by Cameron.
In a statement today, the Cameron family said they were “thrilled to be making a new home in New Zealand”…” more