#Let Ash stay in New Zealand!!

#Let Ash stay in New Zealand!!

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Aisling smyth started this petition to Phil Twyford and

My name is Aisling Smyth, but you can call me Ash. I'm 34 years old and originally from the UK. I have been living in New Zealand for seven years. I work full-time as an Administrative Manager in beautiful Queenstown.

In 2013 I became seriously ill, and I had no idea what was causing me to stumble, fall and partially lose my vision. Fast forward three months… I was back in the UK and officially diagnosed with Relapse/ Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 

I never let MS define me, so I returned to live in NZ. I lived in Auckland for one year and then in 2015 I was lucky enough to move to Queenstown and have called it home ever since.

In 2016 my MS flared up and I started taking medication to stop the severity and frequency of relapses. Since starting on the medication I have had no relapses, or new activity on MRI's. My MS is well managed, and my long-term prognosis is excellent. I am otherwise fit and healthy.

I am a super keen snowboarder and live for the winter snow. I love to get out on my bike or hike and explore the trails around the South Island. My MS won’t stop me living my life to the fullest, but Immigration New Zealand is trying hard to do so.

Despite working and contributing to the Queenstown community for many years and otherwise being eligible for residency, Immigration NZ has denied my visa application due to my MS.  They say that I am a “burden” to NZ.   My visa has now expired and they are going to deport me back to the UK by the end of October 2021.

I am immunocompromised due to MS… yet they want to send me back to a country which currently has more than 1.2 million active COVID-19 cases and is adding close to 40,000 new cases PER DAY! Despite the government’s pledge to keep New Zealanders safe during this global pandemic, they have no hesitation to send me away and not care what happens to me. This terrifies me.

I have built a life here in New Zealand.  I have a partner, a steady job, and many friends.  Immigration NZ doesn’t care and they want me to throw all of that away as if none of it matters. 

It was recently revealed that the NZ Immigration Minister, Phil Twyford, granted residency to three people who had had ten criminal convictions against them (all but one conviction while in NZ).  He has the power to grant me a medical exemption and grant me residency in NZ. 

This petition is to help put pressure on him to intervene in my case. I am not a criminal.  I am a hard working, loyal, friendly and loving person who just wants to live and contribute to the wonderful NZ community.

Immigration's acceptable standard of health policy needs to change. It is outdated, ableist and systemically discriminates against people despite what they have to offer. We need the policy settings reviewed and removed altogether.

I have never felt so discriminated in my whole life. This has had a huge impact on my mental health. It made me doubt my value as a human being. However, I refuse to let this experience define me and this is why I want my story to be heard. 

Please sign and share this petition - please help to amplify my message until it gets to the Minister of Immigration NZ.

I know I am not alone and I believe that no one else should be excluded, punished and discriminated against due to having a chronic condition. 


0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!