Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has known for weeks about a 15-year-old in Australia destined for deportation to New Zealand, while the Prime Minister was only made aware recently of the situation.
It was also revealed today the minor, who arrived last week, has two Oranga Tamariki staffers staying in an adjacent room in an MIQ facility.
"He's getting 24-hour care," Children's Minister Kelvin Davis said. "I certainly don't believe a 15-year-old child should be treated in the same way as an adult."
Jacinda Ardern told media yesterday she had only recently been made aware that in the group of deportees from Australia that had returned, known as 501s, there was a minor.
She said she wanted to look further into the deportation, "because we do want to make sure, particularly when we're dealing with young people, that that's been dealt with appropriately regardless of the circumstances of their deportation".
Mahuta said she was notified that the minor would be returned to New Zealand on March 10.
"I was notified some weeks ago about the situation... noting there were some complex family issues and that he was a minor."
National's Gerry Brownlee said today more details needed to be released around the minor's deportation.
"Suggesting that New Zealand public can't know more for privacy reasons is not acceptable. We need to know what this child's support is here in New Zealand compared to Australia.
"If the family support is in Australia, that makes it even more appalling as a deportation.
"The secrecy around this is not acceptable given this is a child now in the custody of New Zealand officials. They don't have to release his name, they don't have to release all sorts of personal details, but the fact is we know nothing [about why they're here]."
Last week, Australia's Nine News aired footage of a planeload of deportees in Australia destined for New Zealand. In the television story, Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton referred to the deportations as "taking the trash out".