Kiwi teenager deported from Australia may not have been forced to return to NZ

Newshub understands the Kiwi teenager deported from Australia may not have been forced to return to New Zealand. 

Our Foreign Minister has revealed she knew the 15-year-old was being sent here weeks ago, despite the Prime Minister only finding out yesterday. 

The teenager was sent back to New Zealand by himself under Australia's hardline 501 deportee policy on the flight at the centre of a TV report that shocked Kiwis. 

In the report, a presenter bombarded deportees with questions saying they were "revealing the secret prisoner plane booting foreigners out of our country [Australia]".

But the question remains as to whether the deportees are foreigners.

Many of these Kiwis grew up in Australia, they consider that country home, not New Zealand. 

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the Government was notified of the minors return in early March. 

"We were notified that the minor would be returned to New Zealand on the 10th of March."

Mahuta knew the teenager was coming back before he stepped on the plane, adding that Oranga Tamariki were notified "as soon" as she was.

Except Mahuta held off telling the Prime Minister.  

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "just became aware" of the 15-year-old on day five of his stay in managed isolation. 

Oranga Tamairiki says he's "receiving support while undertaking quarantine," 

So where will he go after quarantine? Mahuta confirmed the boy has family in New Zealand and now Newshub understands he may not have been forced home but instead, volunteered. 

Newshub also understands he wasn't onboard a special 501 flight. 

The Children's Commissioner says it still raises questions about Australia's motives. 

Andrew Beecroft Children's Commissioner asks whether it was a "principled decision, or just convenient?" 

Australian Government visas are cancelled for people sentenced to 12 months in prison, regardless of their age or nationality.

When it comes to minors they do so with a "high degree of caution and consultation" - and under their obligations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mahuta says it didn't break the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"We were very mindful of situations that brought our attention such as that in Turkey that the child was important," adds Mahuta.

Two young children and their mother Sayhura Aden are still caught up in another trans-Tasman deportation dispute. 

National Party Leader Judith Collins saying she had "never seen the relationship at such a low ebb." 

And the brutal toll of that - is now children are being caught in the middle.