Key, Little to bend Turnbull's ear on detainees

Key, Little to bend Turnbull's ear on detainees

The Green Parties in New Zealand and Australia have complained to the Australian Human Rights Commission over the deportations of New Zealanders.

It coincides with the first official visit of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who arrived in Auckland tonight.

Mr Turnbull is bringing his wife, Lucy, and the pair is due to have a private dinner with John Key and his wife Bronagh ahead of a big meeting tomorrow.

The big issue to be discussed will be Kiwis currently being held on Christmas Island and other detention centres in Australia before they're deported.

Labour's Kelvin Davis will visit Christmas Island tomorrow. Today he lent his ear to family members and loved ones of Kiwis locked up Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre, awaiting deportation.

Since the Australian government tightened its laws late last year, 80 New Zealanders have been deported – more than 190 are in detention centres awaiting deportation, and it's estimated a further 1000 Kiwis will fall foul of the new rule and be sent home over the next five years.

Tomorrow, in Auckland, Mr Turnbull will face off against our Prime Minister and Labour leader Andrew Little over the issue.

"That he hears clearly and unequivocally that the way they are treating Kiwis at the moment isn't acceptable, it's not on. And we've got to find a way to change it," says Mr Little.

"I look forward to discussing this issue with John Key, but it is very important that we maintain our standards, our security," says Mr Turnbull.

For the two prime ministers, the stakes are high – it's a real test for New Zealand's long-standing trans-Tasman friendship.

Mr Key is confident tomorrow's meeting will be a success, and pointed out that Mr Turnbull chose New Zealand for his first official international trip as Prime Minister, despite the current issues.

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