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The online petition of 62,000 people supporting volunteer fireman Steve Webster being granted residency in New Zealand was presented today in Parliament by Nelson MP Nick Smith.

“This is a huge petition and reflects the strong public support for Steve Webster and his family. It also shows how much New Zealanders respect volunteer firefighters highlighted by the contributions of Mr Webster and many others during Nelson’s devastating forest fire earlier this year.

“People were flummoxed that Immigration Minister Ian Lees-Galloway had approved New Zealand residency for convicted drug dealer and gang associate Karel Sroubek but not a law abiding contributing community member like Mr Webster.

“My hope with this petition is that the Government will reconsider Mr Webster’s case. I have been successful in supporting him to get a work permit for a further year but I appreciate this family needs the stability and certainty of residency.

“The family has been in New Zealand since 2012, are well settled, are making a positive contribution and it is in both their and New Zealand’s best interests that they be allowed to stay permanently.” 

Parliament referred the petition to a select committee where lead petitioner Ken Mahon will present further evidence of the community support for the Webster family.        

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