19 Feb 2009

Agent says officers used 'underhand' tactics against boy

7:58 pm on 19 February 2009

Immigration New Zealand is investigating allegations its officers took steps to illegally remove a five-year-old New Zealand citizen because his parents are overstayers.

An Auckland immigration agent, Tuariki Delamere, says the officers used underhand tactics to obtain a Chinese passport for Eason Diao so they could send him to China.

His Chinese father and mother were the subject of deportation orders but Eason was born in New Zealand so is a New Zealand citizen.

Mr Delamere says the Immigration Service took Eason's picture without his parents' permission so it could be used to obtain a Chinese passport for him.

He says the service has no legal right to attempt to remove a New Zealand citizen.

The Immigration Minister, Jonathan Coleman, has asked for a report into the matter.

Immigration New Zealand says the fact that foreign nationals have a New Zealand citizen child does not give them a right to stay or reside here.

It says it does not 'orphan' children, and the choice about where a child who is a New Zealand citizen resides is one for the parents to make.