- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) - Prime Minister John Key says a decision by immigration officials to award former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson a visa to enter New Zealand was a “line call” given his criminal convictions.

Tyson is due to visit New Zealand on a speaking tour this month. He was sentenced in 1992 to six years in prison after being convicted of rape. A serious criminal conviction would usually lead to the refusal of a visa, but Key said immigration officials can exercise discretion in individual cases.

Key said Tyson’s visa application was approved on a “line call” because his conviction was 20 years ago and he’ll be in New Zealand “for about 20 hours.” He added: “It’s a marginal call and there are always issues that have to be reflected.”