High number of Kiwis deported from Australia 'corrosive' to relationship

Australia's deportation of Kiwis has been "corrosive" to the trans-Tasman relationship, New Zealand's top diplomat in Australia has told a parliamentary committee in Canberra.

Appearing at the Australian government's Joint Standing Committee on Migration today, New Zealand High Commissioner Chris Seed criticised the legal processes around deporting long-term residents on character grounds and without convictions as "less than robust".

"We don't have an issue with deportation," he said.

"What we have a problem with is where they're deporting people who have effectively lived here for long periods of time ... who came here when they were two, who are essentially products of the Australian community or whose family are here."

He said tighter rules introduced in 2014 - combined with laws stripping New Zealanders of automatic residence status from 2001 - had seen the rate of Kiwis being deported increase seven-fold in three years, to the point they were being "disproportionately" penalised compared to other nationalities.

"Many of those consequences don't look like good public policy outcomes to us and they're having a corrosive impact on the otherwise strong relationship," he said.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Ministers Winston Peters backed Mr Seed.

"We can't gild the lily here. It's a fact. Since 2001-2002, when our special relationship changed ... Things haven't been what they ought to be. But we're working positively on trying to improve that," he said.

New Zealand's coalition government has been vocal in its criticism of the deportations, with its justice minister, Andrew Little, and Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton trading barbs over the matter earlier in the year.

Mr Dutton said Australia did a lot of heavy lifting for New Zealand in terms of regional security and stopping boats, and has defended the sovereign right to deport people.

New Zealand and Australian flags.
New Zealand and Australian flags. Source: istock.com



Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reacts to threats to force him from power

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has reacted to alleged threats by his opponents to force him from power.

Speaking to state television today, Duterte said: "If the armed forces think that I am not competent, that I am not qualified to be sitting here as president ... it's up to you," Duterte said. "You want another president? Fine."

Opposition politicians said Duterte's TV appearance, which lasted more than an hour, should have focused on growing public concern over inflation, which hit a nine-year high last month, rice shortages and poverty.

A powerful typhoon churning over the Pacific is also forecast to lash the country's agricultural north later this week.

Duterte attempted to explain the legal offensive he has launched against opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

He linked Trillanes' political group to an alleged plot to oust him, and said he has ordered the release of intelligence provided by a foreign government about the alleged plan.

Duterte's decision to withdraw a 2011 amnesty granted to Trillanes, a former navy officer who joined past mutinies, has forced the senator to seek refuge in the Senate, where he has been marooned for a week and gained wide media coverage.

Concerns have been raised that Duterte's moves may undermine judicial independence and that the political impasse may ignite restiveness among troops in a country with a recent history of military uprisings.

Military chief of staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. warned troops over the weekend "not to meddle or take part in partisan politics".

Opposition politicians said Duterte's TV appearance should have focused on growing public concern over inflation. Source: Associated Press


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Kiwi should get longer, 12-year jail term for killing Aussie teen, court told

The New Zealand man who killed promising teenage sportsman Cole Miller in Brisbane should have his jail term increased to 12 years, a court has heard.

Lawyers for Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath today argued in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane that the seven-year sentence given to Armstrong Renata for the single-punch death in 2016 was inadequate.

Mr Miller was struck from behind by Renata while on a night out in the Fortitude Valley nightclub district.

The 18-year-old suffered a massive brain trauma and his family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support two days later.

"What we have here is bordering on the worst example of that type of offence ... here the starting point needs to be something that resembles ... that maximum penalty," barrister Carl Heaton QC said.

Under his current sentence Renata, 23, who pleaded guilty to a single count of unlawful striking causing death, will be able to apply for parole in less than four years.

The father of Cole Miller bravely fronted media after turning off his son's life support. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Heaton argued in court that Justice Helen Bowskill had erred by using manslaughter cases as a guide in setting Renata's sentence.

He said the offence of unlawful striking causing death was more serious, and deserved a harsher punishment.

A 12-year sentence would require Renata to serve 80 per cent of this time behind bars before he can apply for parole.

Defence lawyer John Allen QC said it would be "unusual" to approach the sentence by working down from the maximum penalty, and that this was not justified in Renata's case.

The court has reserved its judgement.

New Zealander Armstrong Renata, 23, punched and killed 18-year-old Cole Miller in a Brisbane nightclub in January 2016. Source: 1 NEWS


Dunedin Botanic Garden staff catch man allegedly performing indecent act in women's toilets

Police are praising the "vigilance and quick actions" of staff at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, after they assisted in catching a man who was allegedly performing an indecent act in the women's toilets yesterday afternoon.

Police say a 47-year-old Timaru man was apprehended by staff allegedly performing an indecent act in the lower garden women's toilets.

The man is currently before the courts.

Police are continuing their investigation into other recent incidents at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens and encourage anyone noticing suspicious activity in that area to report it to them immediately.

They ask the public to call Dunedin police on (03) 488 0642 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with any information.

Dunedin Botanic Gardens. Source: Wikimedia Commons