26 Oct 2009

Fiji judge allowed visa for child's medical treatment

3:34 pm on 26 October 2009

A Fiji judge at the centre of controversy over claims she was denied entry to New Zealand to bring her toddler for medical treatment is due to arrive with her son in Auckland on Monday.

Anjala Wati claimed last week that her visa was declined because she is a High Court judge.

Judge Wati said New Zealand immigration officials told her they would talk to the Immigration Minister to see if he would grant an exemption.

While a decision was being made, Fiji's attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed Kaiyum accused New Zealand of interfering with the judiciary by denying the judge's visa.

Judge Wati says she's relieved a visa has now been granted for the sake of her child, who needs urgent eye surgery.

Visa 'not declined'

The head of the Immigration Service said last week that Judge Wati's visa had not been declined and her application was still being assessed.

Andrew Annakin said no suggestion was made at the time of the inquiry that immediate travel was required to obtain medical treatment for a child and prevent the loss of sight in one eye.

Mr Annakin said although New Zealand maintains travel restrictions against some people following the coup in December 2006, it has shown consistent flexibility where humanitarian, medical or compassionate grounds have been substantiated.