Call for support service for NZers to stop deportation from Oz

By Stefan Dimitrof

National Māori Authority chairman Matthew Tukaki wants an advocacy service for New Zealanders facing deportation from Australia.

Some deportations have already been overturned by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Open Justice reported 38 New Zealanders ordered to leave Australia successfully appealed deportation in the year to June 2021.

A further 23 stopped their deportations under Section 501 of the Australian Migration Act, which can be triggered when a person is sent to jail for 12 months or longer.

Last week Australia’s new leader Anthony Albanese told Prime Minister Jacinda Adern, that he’d "work through some of the issues" around the current policy on 501 deportees.

"We will work through some of those issues and we'll have a ministerial meeting, a leaders' meeting coming next month and we'll work through with our departments … the implementation of the way that Section 501 has been dealt with,” said Albanese.

Tukaki believes this indicates a reset of the political relationship between Australia and New Zealand.

He’s now exploring how the Administrative Appeals Tribunal can be encouraged to hear some cases under urgency as some detainees have been held for up to a year.

“One of the things that we are developing is whether we can have a standalone New Zealand advocacy service in Australia to help our whānau navigate the system.”

In the meantime, he’s urging advocates working on behalf of New Zealanders to keep fighting as the government begins to change the way it handles the issue of the 501’s.

“Go through the process of appealing, once you are deported back to New Zealand that pathway becomes a lot more complicated when you’re offshore.”