Action demanded over NZer's $A2886 deportation bill

6:10 am on 8 November 2016

A man deported from Melbourne has been presented with a big bill by the Australian government despite assurances that people sent back to New Zealand won't be charged.

Moses Folau

Moses Folau Photo: Supplied / Moses Folau

Moses Folau, 32, has been told he has to pay $A2886 for airfares for himself and his security escort who travelled here last Thursday.

Almost a year ago Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton gave Justice Minister Amy Adams assurances that New Zealand deportees would not be billed.

Lobby group Iwi n Aus has written an open letter to Ms Adams asking her to take action.

Mr Folau, who has lived in Australia since he was five, had been held in Maribyrnong Detention Centre for seven months when he agreed to be deported, fearing he might otherwise be sent to Christmas Island.

"I said I'm not going to sign [the bill] because I have the minister's statement from December the 8th, 2015, stating that Kiwis ... don't have to pay, he said.

"So they were trying to pretty much stand over me, trying to scare me with cancelling my ticket."

He said a senior Border Force manager then rang him and said he had to pay as there had been a change of policy in early 2016.

"I said, 'well, show me the new policy and if it's correct and the minister has made a new policy, I'll sign it'. But as it stands I still have not seen a policy ... the Minister Peter Dutton has gone against his word if this is the case."

A letter from the Australian Border Force to Mr Folau in October said the ban on billing New Zealand deportees did not apply because he had been removed under a different section of the law.

Mr Folau said he was worried the dispute would hurt his appeal to get his visa back.

He lost it after being jailed for two years for assault with intent to cause injury, after a bar fight.

He said this was his only prison term.

If he got the visa back back, and returned to his partner, son and seven siblings in Melbourne, he would have to pay the $A2886 bill at the border.

"It's not the money, it's the principle," he said.

Ms Adams' office referred RNZ to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry, which said it was looking into it.

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