Deportation rules don't work – NZ First
1:25PM Wednesday June 06, 2007
The New Zealand Herald
New Zealand First says deportation laws are not working with nearly 40 per cent of people detained under immigration laws being held because they are obstructing their own removal.
The party's deputy leader Peter Brown said 19 of the 51 people currently detained under the Immigration Act had refused to apply for a passport or travel documentation.
Of the 19, 16 have been in custody for six months or longer while one person has been held for 40 months.
Mr Brown said: “What is the point of having deportation laws when the final decision is in the deportees' hands? We don't allow criminals to decide when they want out of jail, yet we allow deportees to choose if and when they will be removed from our country. The situation is ridiculous.”
Mr Brown said the Government had done nothing to address the problem.
“The current Immigration Act review says the current policy is working fine as a deterrent to such actions, but as these figures show, it clearly is not,” he said.
Mr Brown said most of the deportees were from a small number of countries and the Government should pursue agreements with those countries so people could be returned without proper travel documents.
“Allowing deportees the chance to indefinitely stall their deportation is simply not acceptable,” he said.
“We already allow deportees a myriad of appeals. Once the appeals are exhausted the deportee should be on a plane out of here, end of story.”
The review of immigration laws was sparked by concerns that too many undesirable foreigners were able to stay in New Zealand for too long, making it expensive to remove them.
Immigration Minister David Cunliffe was not immediately available for comment.