Movement of criminals between NZ and Australia needs control
The governments of New Zealand and Australia are looking at ways in which they can tighter control the movements of convicted criminals between the two countries. Chris Bowen, Australia’s Immigration Minister, managed to use special powers to have four New Zealanders deported last year, even though they had won appeals in the Aussie courts.
According to Brisbane’s Sunday Mail, criminals convicted of a range of crimes in New Zealand, such as robbery, kidnapping, rape and manslaughter, were managing to get through Australian customs by simply ticking a box on the arrival card saying that they do not have a criminal history.
A special category visa is available to New Zealanders who wish to enter Australia. However, one of the provisions is that they have not been sentenced by a judge to a year or more behind bars.
Although police are able to share some information on deportees, Australia is not able to release detailed information about those Kiwis it sends home with criminal records because of laws on privacy. A spokesman for the Justice Ministry in New Zealand said it had been in talks with the Australian authorities about finding better ways to share information, but that privacy legislation remained an impediment.
He added that any successful regime would require both governments to agree on new legislation. Current laws about privacy differ from state to state, which makes the situation even more complicated. New Zealanders sent home after they have completed a prison sentence in Australia are also not subject to the same parole or supervision conditions as Australians.
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