Updated: 04/20/2014 10:01 | By Agence France-Presse

New Zealand says yes to Nigella despite US exclusion

New Zealand officials have granted a special visa to British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, who has admitted cocaine use, in an apparent confirmation she has been blocked from entering the United States, according to a report. 

New Zealand says yes to Nigella despite US exclusion

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson leaves Isleworth Crown Court in west London, on December 5, 2013 - by Carl Court

US authorities declined to specify why Lawson was stopped from flying from London to Los Angeles late last month.

However, in a statement to the Herald on Sunday newspaper, Immigration New Zealand said Lawson was not allowed to enter the United States which meant she required special permission to work in New Zealand. 

"As Ms Lawson has been excluded from another country, namely the United States, she was ineligible to be granted a visa to enter New Zealand unless given a special direction," the statement said. 

"A special direction was considered and granted and subsequently her visa application was approved." 

The 54-year-old Lawson admitted, when giving evidence in a court case last year, that she had used cocaine and cannabis in the past. 

British newspapers speculated the television chef was stopped from flying to the United States, where she stars in a cooking talent show "The Taste", because of her admission of drug use. 

A US embassy spokeswoman in London confirmed Lawson was denied permission to fly to Los Angeles but declined to say why, citing privacy reasons. 

Lawson is in New Zealand to film a commercial for a chocolate manufacturer.

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