Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Australia has deported some Kiwis with criminal records who have no connections with New Zealand at all.
She was commenting on Tuesday on a report that a quarter of the 1023 deportees in 2015 have been convicted of offences since they returned.
Of the 252 convicted deportees, a quarter ended up behind bars.
Ms Ardern said the problem was a mixture of the need for rehabilitation and making sure deportees had some connections with New Zealand.
"We were seeing originally - and there has been some movement - that those being sent back had absolutely no connection here," she said.
"There are a number of contested cases where it's very clear that those individuals being deported have very firm roots in Australia."
The figures were obtained by Stuff under the Official Information Act.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said the number of convicted deportees was "disappointing" and suggested not enough effort was going into giving them the help they needed.