Immigration NZ is reviewing an anti-transgender activist’s travel to New Zealand following chaotic scenes at a speaking event she held in Australia over the weekend.
Police officers were allegedly assaulted in Melbourne on Saturday after pro-transgender and anti-transgender activists clashed at Victoria’s Parliament where Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull – also known as Posie Parker – had held an event. According to local media, at least three people were arrested for assaults during the clash.
Among those demonstrating was a group of neo-Nazis with a “destroy paedo freaks” sign.
Keen-Minshull is a contentious British figure who started the Standing for Women group which campaigns against trans rights. Her website declares 2023 to be “the year of the TERF”, meaning trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
Members of the Rainbow Greens have called for her to be blocked entry to New Zealand, where she is speaking in Auckland and Wellington this weekend.
“They’ve said this is on the basis that there is reason to believe her arrival in Aotearoa New Zealand poses a significant risk and threat to public order and the public interest—particularly with respect to preventing violence towards members of our takatāpui, transgender and gender diverse communities.”
In a statement to Newshub on Monday afternoon, Immigration NZ general manager Richard Owner said the agency is “now reviewing whether in the light of the events at the weekend Ms Keen-Minshull is still able to travel to New Zealand on the basis of the NZeTA that she holds without obtaining a visa first.”
As Keen-Minshull holds a United Kingdom passport and the UK is a visa-waiver country, she can travel to New Zealand for a temporary visit without the need to apply for a visa in advance.
“All visa waiver nationals who wish to visit New Zealand must apply for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA),” Owen said.
“In completing an NZeTA application the applicant must declare any previous convictions or removals/exclusions from other countries. On arrival, the holder of a NZeTA applies for a visa to enter New Zealand.
“Immigration New Zealand (INZ) can confirm that Ms Keen-Minshull is the holder of a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).”
Both the NZeTA and visitor-waiver visa include character requirements. Someone won’t meet the requirements if “we have reason to believe you may be a risk to New Zealand’s security, public order or public interest”, the Immigration NZ website says.
Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau said she condemns the views and actions espoused by Keen-Minshull.
“While I acknowledge that freedom of expression, movement and peaceful assembly are rights preserved in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, this protest is against principles Wellingtonians, and me personally, hold dear.
“In Wellington we proudly celebrate and welcome diversity and inclusion of all members of our community. A great example of that will happen this weekend when around 100,000 come together to enjoy CubaDupa.
“While people are free to express their views at the event, troublemakers are not welcome in Wellington. I will not welcome them. We will work closely with Police to ensure the event and any counter protests that may occur are peaceful.”
In an open letter to the Minister of Immigration, the Greens said Keen-Minshull has a “longstanding track record of hateful speech and the incitement of violence towards trans and gender diverse people as well as other marginalised communities”.
They said there is a “strong public interest” in preventing the spread of hate.
“This is because it directly threatens the human rights and bodily integrity of people—in this case, our takatāpui, trans and gender-diverse communities. It is also because these networks of extremists are connected and reinforce one another.
“By permitting one form of anti-trans extremist to enter the country, you will also risk emboldening and strengthening related groups within the same networks.”
Following the events on Saturday, the Victorian Government said it would fast-track plans to outlaw the public display of the Nazi salute.
Keen-Minshull has been on a speaking tour of Australia and will visit Auckland and Wellington this weekend to speak in public areas.