Immigration NZ says Nelson firefighter 'not facing deportation', despite petition with 30,000 signatures

An online petition to save a volunteer firefighter from being deported has gained over 30,000 signatures, despite the fact that he isn't facing deportation. 

Steve Webster is a member of the Nelson and Stoke Fire Brigades and is currently battling the Tasman fire. 

Friend and former volunteer firefighter Ken Mahon set up the petition 'Stop the Deportation of Steve Webster from NZ' on Sunday.

As of 2pm on Monday after the petition to Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway had gained 31,025 signatures. 

On the page, Mr Mahon described Mr Webster as an "active member" of the community. 

"As can be seen [he] is involved in fighting the current fires and the immigration people want to send him and his family back to England. Everyone get behind this man we need people like him in NZ."

Mr Webster and his wife own a flower shop in Nelson, and as well as being a volunteer firefighter he works as a car salesman. 

But the petition to keep him in the country seems unnecessary, as neither he nor his family are at risk of deportation. 

"Mr Webster and his family are all legally in New Zealand and are not facing deportation, Immigration NZ manager Michael Carley told Newshub.

"Mr and Mrs Webster’s work visas are valid until 6 July this year and they will have the opportunity to apply for further visas before then. There is no compliance action planned against the family as they’re all lawfully in New Zealand."

It's unclear where the idea of Mr Webster's imminent deportation came from.

Mr Mahon told Stuff he thought the supposed deportation was due to his friend's business not performing to a high enough standard.

"Which is pretty bloody unfair when he's such a great guy and they have got the business up and running," he says.

"It's not like they are not contributing to the community, especially when Steve is off fighting the fires."