Expat crims find life in NZ difficult

By Andrew Koubaridis

5:30 AM Monday Dec 16, 2013

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Victoria University migration researcher Paul Hamer believes Kiwi-born criminals being deported by Australia will increase as the number of Kiwis living there grows. Photo / APN

A New Zealand citizen who has lived in Australia since he was 4 has been deported to this country in a move the immigration authority concedes will be difficult for him.

Vainga Veatufunga was ordered out of Australia after he was convicted of a series of violent crimes.

The 26-year-old has almost no connection here and his family pleaded with the Australian Appeals Tribunal to allow him to stay.

But Veatufunga was considered a high risk of reoffending and too great a risk to the Australian public.

The case has reignited debate about the information shared between the two countries that began after the murder of Christchurch teenager Jade Bayliss by Jeremy McLaughlin, a former partner of her mother. He was previously convicted of killing a 14-year-old in Perth, a fact kept hidden from the jury at his trial for the Jade Bayliss killing.

In its findings, the tribunal said Veatufunga considered himself Australian.

“His ties to Australia are strong, longstanding and deeply rooted in family,” the report said.

It was accepted separation from his family would cause him “great distress” but he posed a high risk of serious harm to the Australian community.

Victoria University migration researcher Paul Hamer believes Kiwi-born criminals being deported by Australia will increase as the number of Kiwis living there, and without access to citizenship, grows.

Mr Hamer thought there would be more cases in the future of people who went to Australia as children but have grown up there in an environment where they can’t become permanent visa holders or citizens.

Some of the people committing crimes and being deported would “unquestionably” be the product of that Australian system. “I mean if he’s gone [there] when he is 4 he really is a product of Australia as well.”

Justice Minister Judith Collins said a Memorandum of Understanding would improve the process through which New Zealand Police access Australian deportation and conviction information.

She said there was at present an “ad hoc process” partly due to deportation and conviction information being held by different Australian agencies.

Police would lead the development of the memorandum in consultation with Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Justice but it would not come into force until changes to Australia’s Privacy Act in March 2014 that clarified information sharing by law enforcement agencies.

Deported to NZ

  • Tania Winifred Paula Clark, 40, was sent home to New Zealand after living in Australia for 22 years. She served nine years’ jail for manslaughter after running over and killing two teenage boys while high on prescription drugs.
  • Sonny Naea, 20, was deported in April from Queensland after serving jail terms for attacks on taxi drivers and a pizza deliverer. He had lived over half his life in Australia.
  • Tekotia Wiperi, 35, lost an appeal to have his deportation overturned in May after 13 years’ jail on 18 charges. He was also convicted of being part of a prison-run drug ring.
  • Marouna Williams arrived in Australia in 1998 aged 9 but was deported in January with more than a dozen convictions including aggravated burglary.