Lifestyle & Belief

South African man is considered too fat to live in New Zealand


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Mario Tama

Albert Buitenhuis is being kicked out of his New Zealand home for no longer having "an acceptable standard of health" despite losing 66 pounds since arriving in the country.

Buitenhuis was told by the country's immigration authority that he and his wife's visa renewals were being denied because his weight could place demands on New Zealand's health service.

The South African native, who weighs 286 pounds, and his wife Marthie are now staying with his sister in Auckland and were forced to quit work immediately.

"The irony is that at the moment he weighs less than when we first arrived in New Zealand and also less than in his first medical, which was accepted by [immigration authorities]," Marthie told reporters.

Albert and Marthie have lived in New Zealand since 2007 and have applied for new work visas every year with "very little problem", she told the BBC.

The couple got work at a local restaurant in Christchurch - Albert as a chef and Marthie as a waitress.

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Buitenhuis is five feet ten inches tall and has a body mass index of 40, making him clinically obese.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) requires that an applicant's BMI be under 35, reports the Daily Mail.

"INZ's medical assessors have to consider to what extent there might be indications of future high-cost and high-need demand for health services," a spokesperson told the Mail.

Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and fatty liver, they claim.

The couple told reporters they made an appeal to Associate Minister of Immigration Nikki Kaye.

"We've committed no crime and did nothing wrong other than my husband being a foodie," said Marthie.