9 Jul 2009

Call for immigration commission for NZ Pacific community

10:13 am on 9 July 2009

There's a call for an Immigration Commission to be set up to review contentious decisions amid ongoing controversy about overstayers.

The suggestion came at a meeting with senior Immigration officials in Manukau City last night where Pacific Island leaders vented frustration about what they call persistent problems.

They say these include poor frontline staff, lost applications and documents, arbitrary decisions and conflicting messages.

Melino Maka of the Tonga Advisory Council says an immigration commissioner should be set up to review contentious decisions.

"A commissioner actually independednt, and then he or she, would actually make the ruling, and then it would be easier fo everyone to accept, because there's an independent body."

Melino Maka says a recent auditor general's report into the Immigration service's now disbanded Pacific Unit found 40 percent of its decisions were flawed.