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NZ Prime Minister says Tyson visa a 'line call'

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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.

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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.''

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