As Parliament rushes through a law change to keep tabs on criminals being deported from Australia, the Government says it doesn't even know how many will be on the first flight.
A chartered flight is due to arrive tomorrow carrying deported New Zealanders following the introduction of harsh new laws across the ditch targeting foreign-born criminals.
Justice Minister Amy Adams says they were initially told there would be 20 on the flight but now says it may be fewer than that.
She was unhappy there was difficulty in getting the details from Australia, she told Radio New Zealand.
"The information is changing right up to the day of arrival ... I think we need to get the information considerably ahead of time."
The deportees were volunteering to come back and it was difficult for Australia to know what they would choose to do, Ms Adams said.
Ms Adams admitted she didn't even know which airport they would arrive at, saying it was an operational matter.
A law change, which is expected to be passed through urgency this morning, means the deportees will be subject to supervision conditions here.
If they breach the conditions they could end up in a New Zealand jail.
They will be met at the airport by police, Corrections staff and social agencies if they had nowhere to go.
They will have to give officials their details, fingerprints and DNA for various offences.
It is expected the number of people coming back to New Zealand would triple to about 300 a year. That would cost Corrections an extra $7.4 million, which the Government would fund, Ms Adams said.
Under new immigration laws, Australia can deport any non-citizen who has served a sentence of 12 months or more or failed a character test.
The deportees returning to New Zealand have chosen to fight their visa cancellations from here.