5 Sep 2018

Chelsea Manning receives work visa from Immigration NZ

9:17 am on 5 September 2018

Chelsea Manning has been granted a work visa to speak at events in Auckland and Wellington this weekend.

Former US soldier Chelsea Manning speaks during the C2 conference in Montreal, Quebec, on May 24, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Lars Hagberg

Photo: AFP

Promoter's of Ms Manning's tour, Think INC, said they received her work visa from Immigration New Zealand overnight.

The former US soldier was last week granted special dispensation to apply for a visa.

She spent seven years behind bars for sending nearly 750,000 military and diplomatic documents containing classified information about American diplomats and the military to WikiLeaks. She was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison but released last year when former US President Barack Obama commuted her sentence.

Ms Manning was not able to get a visa to enter Australia, instead she will do her Melbourne and Brisbane shows via videolink from New Zealand.

She will arrive in New Zealand tomorrow morning and stay for four days.

Dan Clist, from promoter Think Inc, said Ms Manning had extended her trip here to accommodate the Australian appearances via videolink.

"The Brisbane and Melbourne shows will continue as planned, however, Chelsea will be appearing via videolink from Auckland."

She will speak in Auckland on Saturday night and Wellington on Sunday.

Tickets were selling well, Mr Clist said.

"We're expecting with this positive news as well that they're going to be completely packed out for both shows."

The work visa was a formality after Ms Manning was last week granted a special dispensation, Mr Clist said.

"It's great to see that a decision can be made that's thought out, and a progressive decision around discourse, and a person like Chelsea Manning who has a very important story to tell."

Think Inc engaged Malcolm Pacific Immigration to help with the visa application.

Its director, David Cooper, thanked Immigration New Zealand staff for their "absolute professional and non-bias approach" throughout the processing of the application.

Former Labour Party MP Georgina Beyer will host Ms Manning's shows in Auckland and Wellington.

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