Australia’s policy of kicking out kiwis who have lived three for decades and set up businesses and families there has been a cause for difficulties in the Anzac relationship for quite a while.
Already there have been about 1,700 kiwis who have been excluded from Australia and their families and jobs and communities and forced to return to New Zealand.
I described the policy in an earlier post in this way:
The Australians are upset with Andrew Little and are throwing Donald Trump type tantrums to show their displeasure.
What has he done to attract their displeasure? He accused the Australian Government of having a deportation policy with what appears to have a venal, political strain.
The policy relates to a 2014 law change which increased the Minister of Immigration’s powers to cancel the visas of Kiwis, including those who have lived in Australia for extended periods of time who who are deemed are not of “good character”.
The change of policy has meant that many kiwis have been thrown into custody, separated from family and removed to a country they may not have any links with.
The cases are numerous but include a 17 year old held in an adult detention centre for non violent offending against International Treaties protecting young people, as well as the case of Ko Hapua and Lee Tepuia, both who were deported because they belonged to motorcycle gangs that were not actually illegal.
Tepuia’s case in particular is jaw dropping. He had lived in Australia since 2005 and his youngest daughter was an Australian. His forcible removal from his wife and four children has had a devastating effect on him.
And he kept winning in Court yet despite this Dutton kept cancelling his visa and not telling him why.
Clearly the policy is a cause of intense frustration and it is affecting Transtasman relationships. So what does the Liberal Government do? Take steps so that tens of thousands and not thousands of Kiwis may be affected.
From Radio New Zealand:
Justice Minister Andrew Little says New Zealand is stuck with Australia’s contentious deportation laws – but the government will continue to raise its objections anyway. Mr Little tackled the thorny subject again during a meeting with the Australian Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, in London overnight. Australia already cancels visas for New Zealand citizens who fail a good character test – even if they’ve lived most of their lives in Australia. They now want the power to cancel the visa of anyone who commits an offence that attracts a two-year jail sentence, even if that sentence is not imposed. Andrew Little says he has raised his concerns about the policies with Mr Dutton again, and with no sign of movement, tension remains high between the two countries.