New Zealand’s immigration authorities think they have gotten to the core of solving the obesity epidemic and rising health costs– deport fat people. A 50 year-old, 286-pound South African citizen no longer has an “acceptable standard of health” to remain in the country where nearly a third of adults are overweight, according to reports.
Albert Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, 47, moved to Christchurch, New Zealand from South Africa six years ago. They are now facing deportation after their work visas were declined because of his weight. New Zealand immigration authorities cited the demands his obesity could place on New Zealand’s health services in terms of cost.
When Albert, 5’ 8”, arrived to take a job as a chef, he topped 350 pounds. Yet he has worked, as has his waitress wife, paid taxes and managed to lose more than 60 pounds, according to The Press of New Zealand. His doctor says Buitenhuis, who has a chronic knee condition, is on his way to getting his blood pressure down and his weight under control.
For the first five years, no one seemed to think that Albert could not fit in New Zealand. But, suddenly, the authorities have decided he must leave. His wife, who is not obese, is on his work visa, so she must follow him to the loading dock.
The associate immigration minister of New Zealand is expected to decide on the case in the next week.
Albert is appealing his deportation. And he should. While some nations such as the U.S. tried to prevent immigration for those who were HIV positive that was mainly due to worries about contagion. Obesity, while recently categorized by the American Medical Association as a disease, is not contagious. New Zealand, as far as is known, is not trying to get rid of smokers —