Kiwi detainees considering rioting - Labour

  • 24/10/2015
Labour MP Kelvin Davis (Simon Wong/3 News)
Labour MP Kelvin Davis (Simon Wong/3 News)

Kiwi detainees in Christmas Island detention centre are so angry, hungry and traumatised they are considering rioting, Labour says.

MP Kelvin Davis had a five-hour "highly emotional" visit with detainees yesterday, gaining access to the centre after a week waiting on the island.

About 40 Kiwis are being held while they wait to be sent back to New Zealand under Australia's immigration policy that came into effect in December. Anyone who isn't an Australian citizen and who has served a prison sentence of 12 months or more can be deported, potentially affecting about 1000 New Zealanders.

Mr Davis said the detainees are so desperate to return to their Australian homes, they are considering rioting.

"These New Zealand born Australians are not murderers or rapists. They have served their time yet Australian authorities are treating them as though they are a terrorism threat."

None of the eight detainees Mr Davis met with wanted to return to New Zealand to settle their visa applications, as the Australian government has proposed.

"They think it's a trick designed to prevent them from returning to their families and jobs in Australia," he said.

On arrival at the centre, Mr Davis said he was drug tested and escorted into an airless room where detainees were brought in two at a time for 30 minutes.

He said he took in birthday chocolates for detainee Ricardo Young, but the authorities could not decide if he should be allowed them.

NZN