16 Dec 2015

Deportee offered job interviews, counselling

1:19 pm on 16 December 2015

A convicted armed robber deported from Australia has had offers job interviews, courses and counselling but has not yet heard from a service funded to help people like him.

Andre Bishop

Andre Bishop Photo: Facebook

Andre Bishop, 28, has lived in Australia since he was nine but was sent back to Invercargill about six weeks ago.

He had asked People At Risk Solutions (PARS) for help - an organisation which has $100,000 government funding to assist deportees - but told RNZ it had referred him to the Salvation Army which gave him a food pack.

Yesterday the Department of Corrections said it had spoken to the organisation and that it would be in touch with Andre that day, but by last night he hadn't heard from them.

"They were given $100,000 to help people exactly in my situation... and they have done nothing. So very disappointed," he said.

Andre said he was, however, in a better position than a day ago, and no longer felt tempted to return to a life of crime.

He had since had more offers of help from the Salvation Army and Corrections.

"Probation and parole have called me from Invercargill. They've also offered counselling and courses to stop reoffending - drug courses, all that stuff.

"I've have two job interview offers for the freezing works."

He has receive messages of support, as well as some criticism, from locals on social media.

"Which is understandable, you know - people concerned of a criminal being on the loose. But there's a lot in Invercargill ... I'm not the only one.

"It is frustrating, but in saying that you got to do whatever you got to do to get the message out, and if that comes as criticism, you just got to take it head on."

Andre was still hoping to get help from PARS. He was looking forward to getting a job - but still had no spare clothes, or furniture, in the meantime.

RNZ has contacted PARS to ask whether or when it planned to call Andre but has yet to receive a response.