Lawyer for Indian students facing deportation to meet Immigration New Zealand

The lawyer for a group of Indian students facing deportation from New Zealand due to fraudulent visas, is set to meet with Immigration New Zealand tomorrow.

Immigration lawyer Alastair McClymont says officials contacted him to arrange the meeting, which will take place tomorrow morning at his Auckland office.

Immigration New Zealand has confirmed they requested the meeting.

It comes as the nine students remain at Auckland's Unitarian Church, where they are seeking sanctuary.

Mr McClymont says he doesn't know what to expect at the meeting tomorrow.

"It is very unusual for this to happen," he said.

He says he will continue to fight against the students being kicked out of the country.

"These people have absolutely nothing to lose."

Mr McClymont told 1 NEWS he expects some sort of solution by midday tomorrow.

Leader of the Labour Party, Andrew Little is set to visit the group this afternoon.

The nine students were issued deportation notices after their India-based immigration agents secured visas for them using false documents. Source: 1 NEWS



Poto Williams 'regrets' criticising Willie Jackson over Roast Busters comments but will 'always stand by her principles'

The Labour MP Poto Williams has expressed regret over the way in which she publicly criticised Willie Jackson's candidacy for Labour.

In an interview with 1 NEWS this afternoon, Ms Williams acknowledges that her weekend statement, which criticised Mr Jackson for a radio interview concerning the Roast Busters case, caused some distress to the party and colleagues.

Ms Williams said she is extremely passionate about the issue of family violence.

"It's a personal issue for me and sometimes when you are really passionate about these things, your judgement may be a little off," she said.

She went on to say she is "sorry for the way she went about it, but will always stand by her principles" and will "continue to be a strong advocate for victims of family and sexual violence".

Ms Williams, who is Labour's Associate Justice Spokesperson on Sexual and Domestic Violence, met with Willie Jackson last night to discuss her concerns.

She says they had a robust and honest conversation and she acknowledges the work Mr Jackson is doing with the Manukau Urban Maori Authority on its violence free programmes.

Labour's sexual violence spokesperson, Poto Williams, says without an apology she can't support the newly announced Labour candidate. Source: 1 NEWS

She says that having spoken to Mr Jackson she believes his apology for the radio interview is genuine.

Poto Williams wasn't the only Labour Party member to raise concerns about Mr Jackson's list candidacy, with the Young Labour branch of the party also raising objections in an open letter.

However, other's on the left have criticised Ms Williams for speaking out in the way she did, saying it showed disunity in the Labour Party and hurt leader, Andrew Little.

Roasterbusters and Jackson

Willie Jackson conducted an interview in 2013 on RadioLIVE with co-host John Tamihere with a young woman named Amy.

The interview was involving the 'Roastbusters' scandal, and Mr Jackson was criticised for taking a devil's advocate approach, seen by many as blaming the victim.

The Roastbusters scandal involved a group of young men who were boasting about getting underage girls drunk in order to have sex with them.

The show was halted in November that year over the criticism and Mr Jackson has apologised for his approach several times since.

The Labour MP says she regrets the way she criticised Mr Jackson over his attitude to sexual violence. Source: 1 NEWS


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Suspicious fire that gutted Rotorua church described as 'tragedy for the community' by police

A fire that gutted a Rotorua Church yesterday has been described as tragedy for the community" by police today. 

Twelve fire trucks battled the large blaze at St John's Presbyterian Church that left the building gutted.

No-one was injured and no neighbouring buildings were damaged.

Detective Sergeant Herby Ngawhika told 1 News "the loss of this church is a tragedy for the community".

"Many lives will be affected without the church so we want to get to the bottom of this."

Police say they are investigating reports on social media of young people being seen running from the area shortly before the blaze erupted.

"We want to hear from anyone who may have seen a person or people near the church before the fire or running away from it soon after."

A witness has told 1 NEWS that she saw two males lighting bits of paper at the back of the church.

Police say they are still in the early stages of the investigation and will know more once the cause of the fire has been determined but stressed that it could take some time before the information is known.

Sergeant Ngawhika said due to the damage it was likely what remains of the church would be demolished.

"This church to me is a second home, we were brought up in this church," local man Puna told 1 NEWS.

"It's just heartbreaking man."

Another tearful local, Alan Johnson, said he was shocked by the damage.

"I got married in the old church, was part of the development programme for the new relocation," he said.

A resident first noticed the fire around 5.45pm. A security officer raised the alarm and tried to put out the fire.

The blaze broke out early evening at St John's Presbyterian Church. Source: 1 NEWS

By the time he got to the fire hose, however, it was too big for him to tackle.

Police are asking members of the public with any information to come forward. 

Police have already spoken to a number a 'young' people about the suspicious St John Presbyterian Church fire. Source: 1 NEWS