Call for Government to assist Māori detainees on Christmas Island

By Mānia Clarke
  • Australia

Labour's Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis is calling on the Prime Minister to do more to assist Māori and Pacific Island prisoners being detained at an Immigration Detention Centre on Australia's Christmas Island.

It's estimated that 75 New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders are being held inside this detention immigration facility on Christmas Island.

Davis is challenging the government to further investigate exactly how many are being held, and how they're being treated.

He says, “This is a huge failing by the government.  They don't know how many Māori or Pacific Islanders are being detained, or why they've been moved to that facility.  They're useless in finding out what's happening with our own people there.”

Under new Australia law introduced late last year, anyone who is not an Australian citizen and has served more than a year in prison, is liable for deportation.

But one Māori detainee says he doesn't want to be deported and says he'll do everything he can to stay.

Tukaka Whakatutu says, “No, no I'm going to fight it all the way.  A lot of us here are doing the same thing, we're all fighting it all the way.”

Whakatutu has been living in Australia with his family for seven years.  He's calling on the New Zealand Government for assistance.

He says, “The New Zealand Government should be at least pushing the Australian Government process a lot quicker.  Let us know what's going on, even help with legal representation if we need it.”

John Key says he wants Australian authorities to provide better information about how the detainees are being treated.  Kelvin Davis says he needs to act quickly.

“He needs to find out more information about the detainees, how they are and if they're being treated fairly, as well as the state of the facility,” he says.