Topic: Prison

Māori detainee on Christmas Island pins hopes on John Key

By Ripeka Timutimu

A Māori detainee on Christmas Island is pinning his hopes on Prime Minister John Key to champion his rights.  Key will meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, where the future of Kiwi detainees in Australian custody will be discussed.

Key says the number of Kiwi detainees in Australian custody is uncertain. 

"The numbers really do alter literally by the day, but we think there's a bit under 200 in detention centres," says Key.

One of those detainees is Riki Downes of Te Aupōuri who has served a 12-month sentence for drug offences.  He's now being held on Christmas Island awaiting deportation. 

Little is known of Malcolm Turnbull and it seems Labour are getting in behind Key.  Labour's Meka Whaitiri says, "The Prime Minister is going to do his best, I wish him the best at the other end."

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says, "Detainees need to look after themselves while we look for solutions to bring them home."

After spending eight years living and raising three children in Australia, Riki hopes that Key can deliver.

Australia has always been like a big brother to NZ and this weekend we'll see who will come out on top.

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