Immigration NZ Tells Music Artist David Rovics “You’re Not Welcome in New Zealand”


David Rovics not welcome in a country of 60 million sheep

American music artist David Rovics is appealing for help after he was refused entry to New Zealand because he didn’t have a (free) performer’s work permit to perform at six small gigs.

An activist for social justice, Rovics is described by Wikipedia and the Belfast Media Group as

“An American indie singer/songwriter. His music concerns topical subjects such as the 2003 Iraq war, anti-globalization and social justice issues. Rovics has been an outspoken critic of former President George W. Bush, the Republican Party, John Kerry, and the Democratic Party.”


“Known for expressing his left-leaning views through his songs and essays, many of which have been published in American political journal Counter Punch and others.”

New Zealand, the country that prides itself as cultural nirvana for those in the entertainment industry (and we’re not just talking about Hobbits and Richard O’Brien here) has stranded Mr Rovics in transit at Nakita airport on a technicality. Not only was he refused entry to New Zealand as a tourist but he was also denied the chance to transit the country en route to his gigs in Australia.

You can read an account of his experience in his blog “Songwriter’s Notebook“. The self satisfied smugness of the immigration official is astounding. Her inability to work with him to achieve a positive outcome is pitiful. But perhaps the most galling is her smugness and an unseemly delight in belittling him into submission.

During his narrative Rovics astutely describes New Zealand as a

lovely stolen country of rolling hills, sheep and imprisoned natives

And reveals that to enter New Zealand one has to have thousands of dollars to spend in the country. He writes in his conversation with the uptight offical

“How much money do you have to spend in New Zealand?”

“A thousand dollars in terms of what’s available in the bank”

“One thousand US dollars? You have to have three thousand dollars in order to enter New Zealand”

The message we take from his blog? New Zealand likes its red tape, doesn’t like left wing activists but it likes you to spend big time and isn’t above taking you down a peg or two if you’re not welcome. Being American probably doesn’t help much either. Oh, and please send money to help get him out of a jam, thanks.

Visiting New Zealand soon? You may also be interested in Hilary Swank fined $150 for bringing apple and orange in to New Zealand.