Miss Universe NZ calls in lawyers

A move by the newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand to call in lawyers over claims she is ineligible to win the event has been labelled "ridiculous" by the competition director.



South African-born Avianca Bohm, 22, was crowned in a ceremony earlier this month but it was later revealed she was not eligible to win because she is not a New Zealand citizen.

Miss Bohm is seeking legal advice over the dispute, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Pageant director Val Lott told NZ Newswire on Friday morning that the move was "ridiculous".

"We don't have money for that, she doesn't have money for that... it's just ridiculous, there's no need for that."

Ms Lott said the decision over Miss Bohm's eligibility was now in the hands of the international Miss Universe organisation owned by Donald Trump and broadcasting network NBC.

A decision would likely be made by early next week.

Ms Lott says the judges are to blame for the mix-up because they were told Miss Bohm was not eligible to win.

Miss Bohm was allowed to enter because it would boost her confidence and be good for the Auckland suburb of Howick that she represented.

However, judging panel head Jack Yan disputed Ms Lott's version of events, adding that he didn't want to get into a public debate.

Miss Bohm was confident her citizenship would be fast-tracked.

"It's just the paperwork ... It's not an issue to me at all, I'm not even worried about that."

Miss Universe 2012 will be held in December at a yet-to-be-decided venue.

Last month Miss World Fiji, Torika Watters, 16, was stripped of her crown because she reportedly did not look Fijian enough.

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