An Australian Immigration Service form, released this morning by the Green Party’s lawyer Greg Barns, shows that John Key misled New Zealanders about the ability of Kiwi detainees to apply for Australian citizenship from New Zealand. Mr Barns drafted a claim to the Australian Human Rights Commission on behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Green parties regarding New Zealanders placed in offshore detention centres.
The form shows that if New Zealanders return here from a detention centre their appeal may be dismissed, and they could be barred from re-entering Australia.
“John Key is not telling New Zealanders the truth. He encouraged detainees to come to New Zealand to continue their appeals, and never once mentioned that in doing so they could not only jeopardise their appeal, but could be prevented from being able to return to Australia to live with their families,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
“John Key needs to take responsibility for any people who left Australia to pursue their appeals here, based on the public assurances he made about their ability to return.
“John Key was clear that New Zealanders coming back here to lodge their appeals would not be disadvantaged. That isn’t true. The Australian Immigration form is very clear that in coming to New Zealand they can lose their right to appeal and their right to return to Australia.
“The Prime Minister has made a number of false assurances to the detainees, including that they were ‘quite free to come home to New Zealand to have their applications processed’, that the detainees likely to be in a better position if they came back to New Zealand and that he had “an assurance from the Australian Government that deportees can be sent to New Zealand and have their assessment done for their appeal in New Zealand”
“Yet this immigration form shows exactly why people are staying in detention centres. If they leave, they could lose the change to stay in the country they call home and with their families.
“This looks like John Key is doing Australia another favour by taking the detainees off their hands and allowing appeals to be potentially revoked.
“The Prime Minister seems to be more worried about the political interests of Malcolm Turnbull than the rights of New Zealanders.
“It is unacceptable that the Prime Minister hasn’t been completely upfront with New Zealanders. He mislead the New Zealand public in order to protect his relationship with Australia,” said Mrs Turei.