National | Australia

'Hope in a gentleman's shake with Davis shattered' - Māori Deportee

New Zealand deportees of the Christmas Island Detention Centre in Australia are calling for ongoing support from the Government. It comes on the day Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrives in New Zealand for her first formal bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

Father of three, Jason Wereta was deported back to New Zealand three months ago.

He says the hope he put in a gentleman's shake with Kelvin Davis is now shattered.

“Just recently I sent an email to Kelvin Davis and asked questions why? Why did you come over here and give us all this false hope?”

Wereta was one of several Kiwi detainees of Christmas Island's Detention Centre who met with Davis, the then Labour Corrections spokesperson in 2015. However since Labour came into government, he says Davis has been silent.

“He come over there and accelerated himself and now being involved with politics now he's hiding behind closed doors,” said Wereta.

“It's a shame because all our people are in there.”

Over the past three years, Davis has been a vocal political advocate for better rights of Kiwi's detained in Australia, most of whom are Māori. He took part in the Route 501 campaign by the advocacy group, Iwi n Aus, to raise awareness around the injustices regarding the Australian immigration laws for Kiwi's living over the ditch.

Iwi n Aus co-founder, Filipa Payne issued this challenge, “To Kelvin, what I would like to say to him is, "Will he be standing up to Julie Bishop?" Will he be bringing a voice to the thousands and thousands of people unrepresented by a political entity in Australia.”

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis told Te Kāea the Government doesn't agree with Australia's detain/deportation policy but accepts they have a right as a sovereign nation to make its own laws. Davis says he will continue to advocate for the rights of detainees with cabinet colleagues who do.

Davis says, the Prime Minister has raised issues around detention and deportation with the Australian PM and will continue to do so in the appropriate forums. He says he will respond to Wereta's email.