Posie Parker to be permitted entry into New Zealand, despite fierce backlash

Anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker, wears a red outfit as she speaks at an event which was met with counter-protesters

New Zealand’s immigration department has decided it will allow anti-trans activist Posie Parker into the country, despite widespread condemnation – including from the minister of immigration.

As part of her current tour of Australia and New Zealand, Parker is due to appear in Auckland on 25 March and Wellington, the capital, the following day.

People have increasingly spoken up against Parker (real name Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull) being allowed into the country, starting with an open letter earlier this month to immigration minister, Michael Wood, from the Rainbow Greens and co-signed by three Green MPs.

Things escalated to the extent that prime minister Chris Hipkins weighed in, on Monday (20 March), saying he “condemns” both Keen-Minshull and the anti-trans pundit’s use of free speech for trans-exclusionary ends.

He ultimately kept out of the matter by making it clear that the decision was up to the immigration department, which was reviewing Parker’s case.

In response, Parker posted a video on social media where she said: “Revoke my visa at your peril. Let’s see what happens… so, Chris Hipkins, roll the dice, my friend. I don’t think you’ll dare to keep me from coming into New Zealand, but we’ll see.”

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Immigration New Zealand confirmed on Wednesday (22 March) that Posie Parker would be allowed into the country.

Richard Owen, Immigration New Zealand’s general manager, said: “After reviewing all publically known information about Ms Keen-Minshull and seeking advice from other agencies, we have concluded that there is no reason to believe that she is, or is likely to be, a threat or risk to public order or public interest.”


Wood spoke out against the decision, saying: “Like many New Zealanders, I would prefer it if Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull never set foot in New Zealand.”

He said that he found many of her views “repugnant” and was “concerned by the way in which she courts some of the most vile people and groups around, including white supremacists.

“The decision on whether to suspend her NZeTA [an electronic visa waiver for people from certain countries and territories, including the UK] sits with Immigration New Zealand and they have assessed that she meets the criteria set out in the Immigration Act and regulations.”

Wood added he had been advised Posie Parker’s case does not meet the threshold for ministerial intervention.

Trans and gender diverse charity, Gender Dynamixnz, has already organised counter-protests in Wellington and Auckland.

The charity says it is to show that transphobia is not welcome in the community and that Parker’s comments cannot go unchallenged.

Women’s Refuge defends helping trans women

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Women’s Refuge agency were “dragged” into the debate by one of the people helping facilitate Parker’s visit.

Terri Lipanovic, who is among those organising Posie Parker’s visit, appeared on RNZ’s Morning Report to defend her stance. During the nine-minute interview, she claimed Women’s Refuge accept people simply if they say they identify as a woman.

In a statement to RNZ, Women’s Refuge chief executive, Ang Jury, responded to the claims and how Lipanovic “dragged us into the conversation”.

Jury said: “Yes, we do provide services to transgender women. This has been a conscious choice by the movement and has been in place for a number of years.

“This does not, however, mean that if someone says they’re a woman, that is all that is required. This is a ridiculous simplification of our processes, designed to make an ugly point that best suits her narrative.”

Jury explained that the organisation always applied common sense, “alongside a rigorous assessment”.

She added: “Our primary consideration is the safety of women and children, especially those living with us, and there is no way in the world that we would put them in harm’s way.

“But that does not mean that we should allow transphobic understandings of gender to determine our service-entry criteria.”