New laws regarding deportations continue to hit Māori living in Australia hard. Te Kāea spoke exclusively with a mother who is terrified at the possibility of her son returning to Christmas Island on bail after already serving six weeks there.
A mother's wish for her son.
“We're both praying that he gets jail time. If he's made bail, he goes back to Christmas Island,” says Ana Heard.
Her son, Pita, was held on Christmas Island for six weeks after he served time in prison for breaking and entering.
“The five weeks he was in congregation, his mental state was slipping. They're not treated like humans. What Pita's told me, he would rather go to jail? So if he would rather go to jail then go back to that island, then that indicates something,” says Ms Heard.
What was also concerning for Ana was the inability to have Pita sent back to NZ to process his appeal. This coming after Prime Minister John Key publicly stated that all detainees from NZ could come back home if they wish.
Ana believes he's not being honest, “I reckon he's full of it!”
This week, Pita returns to court for assaulting a security guard. If he's convicted, he could go to prison. But his mother's only concern is Christmas Island.
“These days, I'm an emotional wreck! And there are other days when I'm angry,” says Ms Heard.
Australian law dictates that one can be detained and deported out of the country if they have spent two years in prison or if they fail a character test. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defended the law, saying it wasn't targeting their neighbours from across the ditch.
“Our law applies to everyone. So it's not just specific to New Zealand,” says Australian PM, Malcom Turnbull.
“For a policy that is going to be extremely difficult to change. Pretty much every party in there parliament voted for this. It's not an easy move,” says New Zealand PM, John Key.
It seems there is no going back now.