23 Nov 2016

One in five deportees from Australia face new charges

7:08 am on 23 November 2016

A sharp fall in the offending rate among New Zealanders deported from Australia has not lasted, despite a parole-like monitoring scheme, according to the latest police figures.

Inside Paremoremo Prison

More than a fifth of those deported from Australia have faced criminal charges in NZ in the past year. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Almost 370 New Zealanders were deported from Australia in the 11 months to October, and 79 of them - or 21 percent - have gone on to face criminal charges.

Thirteen of the New Zealanders deported under section 501 of Australia's Immigration Act are in jail, with two serving prison sentences and 11 remanded in custody.

One has already served a sentence and left jail, while another 24 have been remanded on bail, were at large or have had their cases adjourned.

In May, Police Minister Judith Collins said just 10 of the 188 people deported to New Zealand had re-offended since the new monitoring regime was introduced in November 2015.

Police said the latest figures still showed the rate had halved since the monitoring was put in place.

But Labour MP Kelvin Davis said that figure was also likely to unwind.

"These guys have only been back in New Zealand less than a year, some will only have been here for a matter of weeks and months. So of course we're not going to see the true rate of re-offending at this stage, but give it a year, it will probably be two out of five, if not worse."

The flow of deportees is set to continue, with the latest data from Australia Border Force showing there were 177 New Zealanders held in Detention Centres.

PARS, the prisoners aid and rehabilitation organisation, is helping deportees resettle in New Zealand.

Jeremy Baker - a Christchurch doctor who worked with PARS - said he was unsurprised by the offending rate, because the deportees were finding it difficult to get support.

"I know, from the people I am seeing, that they are still living in tents, without adequate access to either work or community support, and a number of them have said to me 'I don't know what else to do'. They're not specifically telling me they are going to re-offend, but a 20 percent rate is an unfortunate spin-off of that lack of support."

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