David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

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Lurch
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David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Lurch » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:04 am

http://songwritersnotebook.blogspot.jp/ ... aland.html

When I got paged over the intercom to the All Nippon Airways desk I was nervous, but figured it was something about a seat assignment on the flight from Narita to Auckland that I was about to board. When the woman from ANA handed me a cell phone and said that someone from New Zealand Immigration in Auckland wanted to talk to me, I was suddenly feeling fatalistic.

“Mr. Rovics, why are you coming to New Zealand?”

The immigration agent sounded like a miserable person who liked her job way too much. It was obvious why she wanted to know – because she already knew I was coming to play a few small gigs, and it wouldn't do for me to say I was just going to enjoy the winter weather, though in fact that was one of the main things I was looking forward to.

“I'm playing six small gigs.”

She already knew this, but she wanted to hear it from me. I learned from my problems entering Canada that lying is the thing they dislike the most.

“Will you be paid anything for these engagements?”

“Yes, I hope to make a little money while in New Zealand, though it's all very marginal,” I replied.

Which sure is the truth. In a country as remote from the rest of the world as New Zealand, people there tend to be very excited when anybody from the outside world shows up – and for good reason. It's extremely expensive to get there from anywhere other than Australia, and the whole country has only two urban areas that might remotely qualify as “cities” where a performer like me might stand to draw a decent audience.

Nobody tours New Zealand to make money, as far as I know. The people there who make the laws issuing work permits seem to know this – a work permit for New Zealand is free. The only charge involved is the permission you need to get from the musician's union. Which, last time I got one, was also free – they waived it since they heard I was singing at a labor rally in Dunedin.

“Do you have a work permit?”

She obviously also knew the answer to this question – she's an immigration agent, for Pete's sake.

“No,” I replied, “I was hoping I could get one when I arrived. I was under the impression it was a formality that could easily be taken care of when I got there.”

Which is true. Although I sure was wishing I had taken care of this formality a long time before. Which is what I had done before my three previous tours of Aotearoa, aka New Zealand. The problem is, unless you live near a city with a New Zealand consulate in it, which I don't, you have to mail your passport in to their embassy in Washington, DC, and be without a passport for several weeks, which is a logistical challenge for someone who tours as much as me. One I vainly hoped I could avoid, and one I've managed to avoid in Australia, where I have successfully gotten work visas after arriving on Australian soil twice before. (Which costs $895. Which is a hell of a lot of money, when you're paying thousands just to get there, and thousands more to traverse the vast distances in that massive, barely-populated continent. Another place where it's almost impossible to make any money touring, but I keep doing it anyway, for some reason.)

“Mr. Rovics, can you tell me what happened to you recently at the airport in Trondheim, Norway?”

I just wanted to tell her to get to the point, but I knew that I had to answer all of her questions if I wanted to have any chance of getting in to her lovely, stolen country of rolling hills, sheep, and imprisoned natives.

“I was strip-searched on suspicion of drug smuggling. But I wasn't smuggling drugs, I made that part up.”

Which I did make up, of course. Artistic license, as I said. Who would be stupid enough to blog about smuggling drugs? Who would be stupid enough to believe it if someone did that? Well, her, apparently, but it seemed like a moot point. Especially since I was already obviously stupid enough to be blogging about lots of things I shouldn't have been.

Why do I say I'm stupid? Because although most of my blog posts are only read by a few hundred people, some of those few hundred people are apparently working for the government of New Zealand.

“What happened to you in Canada?”

I told her what she already knew. I was banned from Canada for a year, because I tried to get in as a tourist when really I was planning to do a gig at the Railway Club in Vancouver, which I hadn't gotten a work permit for. I lied to Immigration Canada about it. I knew better than to do that this time, but it didn't help.

“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.”

“I could have three thousand dollars if I took cash advances on credit cards,” I replied, hopefully.

“Well, that would only be if you were coming in on a tourist visa.”

So why did she ask the question about how much money I had then? Who knows.

Then the shoe finally dropped.

“You can't board that flight tonight, and you can't come to New Zealand until you get a work permit.”

“Can I cancel all my gigs and come in on a tourist visa? If I don't fly to Auckland then I can't fly from there to Perth, or from Brisbane to Hong Kong, etc.”

It's a bit of a cascading, chain reaction clusterfuck sort of situation. Buying a new plane ticket to anywhere I need to go will cost thousands of dollars.

“You can't board that flight. You're not welcome in New Zealand.”

“I know it's none of my business,” I said, “but is it normal for immigration agents to read the blogs of people traveling to New Zealand?”

“I've read your blog,” was her answer to that question.

“Did someone tell you about my blog? Is there a reason you read my blog in particular?”

“I've read your blog,” she repeated. “Thank you,” she said, indicating she was done talking to me, and I handed the phone back to the ANA agent.

After the ANA agent got off the phone, she and all the rest of them looked shocked. Nothing like this had ever happened to them, it seemed. This guy is stuck in the airport, he can't board this flight to Auckland.

A nice man from Hong Kong who worked for ANA took me back through Japan Immigration. No problems getting back into Japan. (Technically I suppose I had left Japan when I went through Immigration earlier in the day at the airport, and they stamped my passport and all that, but in any case, it wasn't an issue.) The man said that in the three years he had been taking care of people on this flight from Narita to Auckland, this had never happened. He wasn't entirely sure what the procedure was at this point.

He helped me collect my luggage. He shared some of his own minor travel horror stories – he recently went hiking in Siberia, where the fact that he is fluent in Chinese, Japanese and English was of absolutely no use in trying to navigate Siberian society, which led to some travel complications for him.

He took me to the hotel reservation desk. They said all the hotels were full. He said I should try calling one in particular, the Narita Airport Rest House. He left and said he had to talk to his boss about my situation. He said I should wait there for him, and he'd be back in 15 or 20 minutes. An hour and a half later, he never came back.

The hotel had a free room, thankfully. Getting to this room, I felt like I was living in a travel anxiety dream, the kind of dream I have at least once every few nights. Except it was all very real. Still feeling that way. I called a friend who is a lawyer in Christchurch. Maybe she knows another lawyer who can help. Maybe. Seems unlikely at this point.

I think I'll be able to get a work permit before I land in Australia, anyway, so the rest of the tour should be OK. If I can figure out how to get to Australia without using the ticket that goes there via Auckland, which is the one I already bought.

Not sure what my next move is, but I know it's going to be costing me many thousands of dollars, whatever it is. And if I max out all of my credit cards completely, I guess I've got the money.

If you've got any to spare for a stupid musician who didn't get a work visa to do 6 lousy gigs in a country that has 3 million people and 60 million sheep and is located in the middle of nowhere, your donations are very, very, very welcome. Donations (just click on the "donate" link there) or subscriptions both put money directly in my bank account, and are both very, very welcome at this moment. If you live in Tokyo and have a guest room, that could also be very helpful. Now I'm going to get some sleep, and see if tomorrow is any better than today was.


Sorry for the length, but I think the whole story is relevant. This is just a bit shit.
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby akaxo » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:11 am

yeah saw this first thing this morning on his facebook. pretty shit is right.
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Philfy Vermin » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:44 am

we have to keep boring people out of nz, we have enough.
Hail to the demons of the earth and kaos anarchy and destruction to those who exploit our human rights and starve the poor and make us suffer for the dead now walk the earth the armys of the dead hail vampires and all creatures of the night hail to the white moon and drtink the blood of our enimies and paint the town red


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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby NOIDEAWOTEVER » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:17 pm

All this "You're not welcome in NZ" stuff is bollocks as far as I'm concerned. He knew he was taking a risk touring on a tourist visa and he got snapped - end of.

He's been here before so I can only assume that he showed up on the immigration radar, that's what they do...they have google like the rest of us. It wouldn't be hard to track him since he uses his own name.

Anyway he's trying to push through an Entertainment Visa right now so the shows still might happen.

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Dead Kid » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:41 pm

He's on immigration's radar because of what happened in Norway and Canada by the looks of it.

“No,” I replied, “I was hoping I could get one when I arrived. I was under the impression it was a formality that could easily be taken care of when I got there.”

Which is true.

Why would he think it's true, if he's run into this problem? As unfortunate as it might be, going to other countries means doing your homework. I expect there's other countries where he could run into much bigger problems.
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby NOIDEAWOTEVER » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:35 pm

I know for a fact he's fully aware of the visa process here as he's done it before. I think he was hoping to bluff his way through with that excuse, as some European and Asian Countries issue visas that way.

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby mmmm....good crack » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:37 pm

I googled his name and I still have no fucking idea who this cunt is
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby the croc » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:32 pm

This guy is a fuckin dunce and can fuck off
There's more to life than thrash
So let's get really smashed
and do the heavy head dance

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Lurch
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Lurch » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:20 pm

mmmm....good crack wrote:I googled his name and I still have no fucking idea who this cunt is


Shame you don't work for customs. He'd have been sweet then.
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby FC » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:27 pm

Yeah sorry, but it seems like people are crying foul over the whole thing and pretending it was something about who he was, rather than what he was doing, which is clearly illegal. I'm sure lots of bands do the same thing, but that's just the way it goes sometimes.
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby NOIDEAWOTEVER » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:40 pm

Pretty much. Prolly didn't help that he'd done Work Visas on his previous visits, I guess they keep records on that kind of stuff?

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby mouseball » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:52 pm

WHY CAN OTHER COUNTRIES FUCK NEW ZEALAND UNTIL THEY LOVE IT AND MIKE TYSON WONT FUCKING COME. FUCK THIS COUNTRY

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby the croc » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:25 pm

1. He has toured here three times before so he knew exactly what the deal was. He even says how its free.
The people there who make the laws issuing work permits seem to know this – a work permit for New Zealand is free.


2. He purposely tired to enter the country without a work permit knowing that he would probably be deported.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 I don't know if I'm going to be deported from New Zealand when I get there. I never know if I'm going to be deported. If I got work permits in this business, there wouldn't be a business. So I hope for the best, the way I do with the lack of health insurance.


3. He has previously been banned from Canada for trying to enter illegally.
I got banned from Canada for a year once because of that sort of thing, but so far I've avoided such problems with any other country.


4. He openly admitted to previously travelling with drugs.
After getting strip-searched at the Trondheim airport a few months ago, I stopped smoking pot on a daily basis, and stopped traveling with it (even though they didn't find the pot I had on me in Trondheim).

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5. He's a dick.

6. We already have enough whiny fucks in this country without letting another one in.
There's more to life than thrash
So let's get really smashed
and do the heavy head dance

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Dick Dynamite » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:48 pm

Lucky he's American. You pull that shit in his country and you can get an indefinite ban.

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby NOIDEAWOTEVER » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:53 am

Some of the FB comments are hilarious:

"Come to Oz instead" umm he's still gonna need a work visa for 'straya

"She's read your blog... ???" 1) yea isn't that what blogs are for? and 2) you heard of Google?

"Don't stand for this shit from a low level bureaucrat. Make a formal complaint" Good luck with that, I'm pretty sure the higher level bureaucrats will say the same thing.

"Crazy stuff, crazy times.." no it's pretty normal really. Get the right visa or don't cry if you take a risk and get caught out.

FFS this is embarrassing :explainittomelikeimfive:

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Philfy Vermin » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:25 am

we are gunna miss his insights on the 2003 iraq war and john kerry, poor nz
Hail to the demons of the earth and kaos anarchy and destruction to those who exploit our human rights and starve the poor and make us suffer for the dead now walk the earth the armys of the dead hail vampires and all creatures of the night hail to the white moon and drtink the blood of our enimies and paint the town red


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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Dead Kid » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:33 pm

Perhaps if he would be so kind as to Google his own name and find this thread, he could clue us in about all of that and more.
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby mmmm....good crack » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:34 pm

Hopefully he can let me know who he is.
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby the croc » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:11 pm

David Rovics
David Rovics
David Rovics
There's more to life than thrash
So let's get really smashed
and do the heavy head dance

https://www.facebook.com/paekakarikipunkshow/

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Lentil » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:30 pm

I saw him play one time he was over here doing a gig for kids.

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Lurch » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:01 am

Update: dude is fucked.

Moving on to Australia, where I'm hoping to go next, whether or not I get into New Zealand (which of course looks increasingly unlikely)...

In the past two tours of Australia I've done, I have entered on a tourist visa and then, before the first gig happened, an agent I've worked with has gotten me a work visa. This is totally legal and happens all the time. For citizens of the US, Canada and a few other countries, getting a tourist visa to Australia is almost automatic. You go to a government website, pay $20, and within seconds you're issued a tourist visa. This is how it's been for me in the past. However, today, applying for the initial tourist visa, I got the following message:

"This system performs checks required by the Australian Government. In a small number of cases, we cannot immediately issue an ETA [Electronic Travel Authority]. Your application is one of these cases. It has been referred to the Australian immigration authorities for further assessment."

So we'll see what happens next with that. Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive, morally and financially, of me in the past couple days. It's helped immensely, and made what could have been a financially and emotionally ruinous experience far more bearable.

New development (a few hours later)... I just checked the status of my Australian visa application online, as you can do, and received this message:

"Your application has been reviewed by the Australian immigration authorities. It has not been successful."

My agent in Australia will be appealing this. There's still 12 days before my first gig there, which under normal circumstances, certainly from past experience, should be plenty of time to sort out a temporary work visa. Guess we'll just see what happens. Maybe I'll be denied entry into the USA next...?
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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby snuff » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:28 am

What a twat.
I guess you really need to ask yourself... What Would Graeme Do?

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Dick Dynamite » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:52 am

To be fair, the majority of punk bands that visit NZ do it on the sneaky with tourist visas, and its also pretty much the only way for a small band to play America and whatnot too.

But no point whinging about it when you get caught, especially when you were stupid enough to think they couldn't google your name and read you literally admitting you were doing it on a public blog. I thought it was common knowledge that immigration of most countries googles info on musicians they know about...

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby Philfy Vermin » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:44 am

:tohlc: :popcorn:
Last edited by Philfy Vermin on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Hail to the demons of the earth and kaos anarchy and destruction to those who exploit our human rights and starve the poor and make us suffer for the dead now walk the earth the armys of the dead hail vampires and all creatures of the night hail to the white moon and drtink the blood of our enimies and paint the town red


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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby NOIDEAWOTEVER » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:25 pm

Probably not a great idea to say too much on the net Phil. Some nasty immigration person might google this shit :wink:

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby NOIDEAWOTEVER » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:25 pm

Dick Dynamite wrote:To be fair, the majority of punk bands that visit NZ do it on the sneaky with tourist visas, and its also pretty much the only way for a small band to play America and whatnot too.

But no point whinging about it when you get caught, especially when you were stupid enough to think they couldn't google your name and read you literally admitting you were doing it on a public blog. I thought it was common knowledge that immigration of most countries googles info on musicians they know about...


Agreed.

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby snuff » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:38 am

Totally.

When BC toured Europe in '06 we had a whole cover story worked out that we were just there to play at our mates wedding if we got pinged by immigration, who as it turned out gave zero fucks anyway.
I guess you really need to ask yourself... What Would Graeme Do?

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby scott penk » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:25 pm

its not hard to get a nz work visa at all. for someone that 'tours as much as he does', he should be able to make it to a NZ consulate pretty easily.

I hate NZ Customs with a passion, but if he thought he wouldnt be flagged in multiple systems for suspicion of drug-smuggling and being refused entry to other countires he is really stupid.

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby aerozol » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:30 am

scott penk wrote:its not hard to get a nz work visa at all.

Some people I know, qualified people with a partner here etc etc, have had a lot of trouble/ not been able to get one. I think it comes down to luck a bit, and also if you're happy to spend your stay in some shitty place doing seasonal work.

But I guess I also know useless people who just cruised in and got one no trouble..
But I do know that Swiss people get fucked trying to get one, which is fine, because we can't get one over there. Dumb politics.

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Re: David Rovics: Not welcome in NZ

Postby scott penk » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:54 am

sorry, that should have said 'nz musicians work visa'


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