New Zealanders waiting for deportation from Australia demand return

New Zealanders waiting to be deported from Australia are demanding they finally be allowed to come home.

Australia's mass deportation programme was halted during the COVID-19 lockdown but has hardly resumed.

For the families of those being detained, every day without their loved ones is adding to the pain.

New pictures have been released on Tuesday showing the inside of one of Melbourne's notorious detention centres.

Here, dozens of Kiwis are living in limbo, crying out to come home.

Last night around 30 New Zealanders staged a peaceful protest. Instead of sleeping in their rooms, they camped outside together and made signs hoping they'd be seen by officials on the outside.

Footage was filmed by Ray Siloi who's been there for three months. And while he awaits a flight home, his family are already back here waiting and crying out for dad.

"It's not easy waking up and your dad is not there," his daughter Paris says. "We know he's not a bad person."

Ray's in detention because the Aussie government says he's of "bad character". He's affiliated with the Victorian Rebels bikie gang.

His family says he has no criminal convictions in Australia, but add he does have some back here.

"They say that he's a criminal without a criminal record, he has never been convicted of a crime. He's nearly been there for 10 years so me, I don't understand," Paris says.

"It's pretty hard as a mother to sit here and have them say that," adds Ray's wife Agnes.

Advocate Filipa Payne says she received a letter from Foreign Minister Winston Peters last week which said deportations were postponed in March but have now resumed in a graduated way.

You might think that means dozens of deportees are making their way back here but it doesn't.

Figures released to Newshub on Tuesday afternoon show that since June 9 only three people have been sent back.

"We would like the Government to show some transparency, to give people information," Payne says.

Australia's mass deportation has long been a sore point between our two countries. This threatens to make matters worse as these Kiwis demand an end to their detention.