WELLINGTON, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government Wednesday canceled a visa issued to former heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson.
New Zealand bans anyone who has been sentenced to five years or more in prison for a criminal conviction, but the government gave the U.S. boxer a special dispensation after receiving a letter of support from the Life Education Trust, a charity that promotes child health and development.
However, Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson said Wednesday the visa had been canceled after the trust asked for the letter to be withdrawn and made it clear that it no longer wanted to be associated with Tyson's visit.
The original decision to grant Tyson a visa had been "a finely balanced call" as the Life Education Trust would have been a " benefactor" of a Tyson's planned speaking event, Wilkinson said in a statement.
"Given that the trust is no longer supporting the event, on balance, I have made the decision to cancel his visa to enter New Zealand," she said.
The Life Education Trust issued a statement Wednesday that the letter of support had been sent by one of its volunteers after the trust had declined to sponsor the speaking event.
"The board of Life Education Trust (NZ) declined an offer to be associated with the event, because we do not believe Tyson reflects the values of our organization, what we teach children about the wonder of life, themselves, and other people," said the statement.
The trust would take measures to "address what has transpired," it said.
A U.S. court convicted Tyson of rape in 1992 and he served three years of a six-year jail sentence.
Tyson had reportedly planned a speaking tour of New Zealand and Australia in November.