Trans-Tasman call to stop Kiwi deportations

  • 29/09/2015
Trans-Tasman call to stop Kiwi deportations

By 3 News online staff

The indiscriminate deportation of New Zealanders from Australia needs to be stopped, the Green Parties from both countries say.

They also have concerns about the continued detention of people from other countries in offshore detention centres.

The call comes after New Zealand-born Junior Togatuki, who had been living in Australia since he was four, was found dead in his cell shortly before he was due to be deported.

Togatuki, who was suffering schizophrenia and anxiety, had written to the Australian Immigration Minister pleading not to be sent to New Zealand.

An investigation into the 23-year-old's death is currently underway.

Under a new Australian law, any foreigner sentenced to 12 months or more will be deported.

But Australian Green Party immigration spokeswoman Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the automatic deportation is concerning because each case is different.

"Junior had lived in Australia since he was just four years old and was, for all intents and purposes, Australian. Deporting someone to a country with which they have little or no connection is serious and I understand why people in New Zealand are concerned about this case," she says.

New Zealand Greens human rights spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty says the policy needs to be stopped.

"In New Zealand, we make humanitarian exceptions, on a case-by-case basis, for people who are in extraordinary situations like Junior Togatuki was in," she says.

Ms Hanson-Young says while she welcomes the investigation, she is concerned about the overall safety and mental health conditions across the country.

"Australia's immigration detention camps are notorious for their cruelty and it's no wonder other countries are starting to ask questions."

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully has raised the issue with his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop.

Mr McCully and Prime Minister John Key met with Ms Bishop while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Almost 200 Kiwis are being held in detention centres in Australia and are awaiting deportation.

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