Kiwis 'beaten and starved' in Australian detention centres

  • 04/11/2015
Kelvin Davis (File)
Kelvin Davis (File)

A Labour MP has given Parliament a harrowing account of the way New Zealand detainees are being treated in Australia.

Kelvin Davis last month visited detention centres including the notorious Christmas Island facility, where about 40 Kiwis were being held awaiting deportation.

Australian authorities are rounding up and deporting non-citizens who have served more than 12 months in prison.

"These people are being locked up, they're being beaten up and they're being starved," Mr Davis said.

"The conditions are tantamount to torture and it's happening in Australia, a country we say is our closest ally."

Mr Davis said the offences committed by detainees he met were at the lower end of the scale.

"I know they went to prison, they committed crimes, but they ought not to be punished twice," he said.

"They don't deserve to be picked up as they leave prison and detained indefinitely – some have been detained for longer than they were in prison."

A fortnight ago Justice Minister Amy Adams said 167 had already been sent back and 585 were waiting to be processed.

Prime Minister John Key last month met his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, and discussed the issue.

Mr Turnbull gave an undertaking there would be a more compassionate approach, and said any detainee was free to return to New Zealand while contesting a decision to cancel their visa.