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.
Man with Down syndrome appeals to MPs, wants early access to KiwiSaver to visit brother and best friend overseas
"I want to do more", Tim Fairhall, a 39-year-old man who has Down syndrome, told MPs as he appealed for access to his KiwiSaver funds before age 65.
He spoke to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee about his goal to visit his brother and friend overseas while he was still in good health.
"I won't live as long as most people," Mr Fairhall said. "It doesn't matter how long you live, as long as you make the most of your life."
Tim Fairhall had been working at Countdown for 14 years, and recently starred in a video made by the Retirement Commissioner's office to champion his case for early access to his KiwiSaver funds.
The money Mr Fairhall needs to travel with his mother is locked up in KiwiSaver until he turns 65, but Down syndrome means he is ageing faster than most.
He said his goal was to see his brother in Italy and his best friend in Canada.
"I have saved my money to do that.
"I have done lots of cool things in my life so far, and I want to do more."
His mother, Joan Fairhall, said her son and other people with Down syndrome had their savings "trapped" if it was invested with KiwiSaver.
"I want you do consider whether the current legislation is unfair and indeed discriminatory, whether it kidnaps and holds on to, and uses the savings of people in this category, but there is just no mechanism for them to get it out and use it fairly for themselves."
She said previously, "If Tim survives till he's 65, and it's quite likely he will, he'll be a really old man then - the equivalent of about 90".
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6.
Child in critical condition after being hit by car in South Auckland
A child is in a critical condition after being hit by a car in South Auckland this afternoon.
Police say the incident occurred around 3pm on Wordsworth Road in Manurewa.
A section of Wordsworth Rd is closed in the Clendon Park area.
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.
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.