Key to discuss deportees with Turnbull

  • 29/09/2015
Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop (3 News)
Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop (3 News)

Australia is to investigate the death of a Kiwi who was being held in solitary confinement in an Australian prison.

Junior Togatuki was facing deportation back to New Zealand after serving a seven-year sentence for armed robbery, but was found dead in his cell two weeks ago.

Police say the 23-year-old committed suicide, but his family disputes that.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has spoken with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop.

"I confirmed that there will be an investigation by the New South Wales police," says Ms Bishop. "I also confirmed that our Immigration Minister will meet with [the New Zealand] Immigration Minister to discuss this matter."

Meanwhile, the broader issue of detentions and deportations is one Prime Minister John Key wants to discuss with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, when the timing for a meeting can be worked out.

"We can register our disappointment there, but it doesn't mean we can necessarily change it," he told reporters in New York.

There are almost 200 New Zealanders being held in Australian detention centres facing deportation, and hundreds more have had their visas cancelled.

There's been an increase in numbers after a law change allowing any person who isn't an Australian citizen and who has served a jail sentence of 12 months or more to be deported.

It's reported almost 100 Kiwis have already been sent back to New Zealand.

Just two Australians have been deported from New Zealand since the beginning of the year, according to figures from Immigration New Zealand.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline's 24-hour counselling service on 0800 543 354, or the Samaritans on 0800 726 666.

3 News / NZN