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The wife of a British man who moved out to New Zealand in September will have to shed a few pounds if she wants to join him after the authorities ruled her too fat to enter the country.

According to the Telegraph, rugby-playing Welshman Richie Trezise, 35, was himself initially turned down for a skills visa after his body mass index (BMI) was clocked at 42, or "morbidly obese". The powers that be apparently don't much care for fatties who might be a burden on the health system.

The former soldier, a submarine cable specialist recruited to supervise the Southern Cross Cable which links NZ, Oz and the US west coast, duly lost two inches round the waist, and jetted off to his new life. His missus, however, is still in Blighty, and Trezise admitted that if she wasn't allowed in by Xmas he might reconsider his decision to emigrate.

Trezise told the Telegraph: "My doctor laughed at me. He said he'd never seen anything more ridiculous in his whole life. He said not every overweight person is unhealthy or unfit."

Robyn Toomath, a spokeswoman for Fight the Obesity Epidemic, described the BMI limit as "valid in the vast majority of people", while stressing her opposition to "obese people being stigmatised".

She added: "However, the immigration department's focus is different. It cannot afford to import people into the country who are going to be a significant drain on our health resources. You can see the logic in assessing if there is a significant health cost associated with this individual and that would be a reason for them not coming in."

Trezise has private health insurance and his employer Telecom runs a gym membership scheme, the Telegraph notes. ®

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