While John Key has said multiple times that he doesn’t have details about the issue of Kiwis being detained in Australia, the Government has been preparing for an influx of more than 1000 New Zealanders who have served time across the ditch, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.
“At least six government agencies - including Police, Foreign Affairs, Health, Justice, Immigration, and Internal Affairs – have known since the beginning of this year about the detention and planned deportations.
“The return of these people – many of whom have no jobs, accommodation, friends, family or support systems here – is likely to cost New Zealand millions.
“Australia’s new policy of deporting low-level criminals, who despite being born in New Zealand have no connections with the country, is a recipe for disaster. Instead of standing up for New Zealand, the Government has just sucked it up.
“These laws took effect in December and the deportations have gone from a handful a month to dozens, with hundreds more waiting in detention.
“It is only since the issue became public that the Prime Minister has finally started to make noises.
“That raises the question of why the Government was so reactive when the story broke, when it should have been well-briefed and prepared.
“Did the Prime Minister and others take their eye off the ball?
“Or have they been dishonest by acting like the policy came as a surprise for them, when they knew about it all along?”