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Huge missed opportunity

Opinion Piece

Our region and all New Zealand has been let down enormously by Immigration NZ.

A cancer specialist from Houston USA has spent recent years in the Palmerston North cancer treatment clinic as well as Gisborne Hospital, Dunedin Hospital and Otago University teaching doctors about cancer, including immunotherapy drugs, radiation, chemotherapy, advanced detection of cancer and new CT scans that diminish radiation.

Our MP Anne Tolley, with Caroline Taylor of the Gisborne office, worked hard to gather important information to support William McCallum's application for residency to become a New Zealand citizen.

He had a house in Gisborne, loved the place and wanted to work here — helping us for many more years.

National's health spokesman Michael Woodhouse as well as Nikki Kaye, a former cancer sufferer, all contributed to try to get this important residency application across the line.

For over two years, Immigration NZ failed in dealing with this important issue. It seems to me that INZ is dysfunctional.

William is now 66 years old but was under 65 when he decided to be a New Zealand citizen and started his application. He has many friends here, including myself, a stage 4 cancer sufferer. He put me on the right course many years ago and I am certain he has extended my life till today.

We needed help with more letters to Immigration NZ to speed things up. Alas, after passing on messages, even asking via our hospital for action, we failed. I wrote in to The Gisborne Herald about prospective health board candidates expanding their portfolios to get William McCallum aboard.

Because of inaction by Immigration NZ, William has now handed in his resignation to Dunedin Hospital and Otago University.

There were no reasons he should not have become a Kiwi. He is very healthy, is a runner and has a very healthy lifestyle. He loved our Gisborne and wanted it to be his home. What a great loss for Gisborne.

Cancer has no conscience and strikes anybody.

One of our new councillors once said to me, “Gisborne is a city of missed opportunities.” Sadly this is the case once again.

Alain Jorion, lung cancer patient advocate