“There is no rhyme nor reason to who gets into the country under the critical worker category and New Zealanders here and overseas have plenty of reasons to be unhappy about it,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“First it was special treatment for the Wiggles, now it’s the Lion King.

“Whether it’s cruise ships, Hollywood movies, Russian fishermen, apple pickers or the Lion King, whether you get in or not seems to rely on two worrying things, who’s ear you’ve got and whether your endeavour has political appeal.

“Cruise ships and apple pickers bad – despite whole orchards being left to rot for lack of workers – foreign chums in the arts industry good.

“Meanwhile MIQ is clogged to the gunwales leaving many New Zealanders who want to return home disappointed.

“It doesn’t add up that the cruise ship Le Laperouse had to turn around off New Zealand’s coast because 60 workers were deemed by Immigration to be non-critical, costing our ailing tourism sector millions, but 126 cast and crew from the Lion King can swan in.

“There are a number of international theatre productions running in New Zealand over the next six months being supported by an almost 100 percent local workforce of cast and crew, which helps local industry and frees up spaces in MIQ that could be used by returning Kiwis.

“Why weren’t the producers of the Lion King required to make similar arrangements if they wanted to stage their production here?

“This doesn’t add up and people are rightly upset at the arbitrary and unfair decisions being made about who can and can’t cross the border.”