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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

To deport, or not to deport: Is that the Question?

Question: when is a citizen of a country not a citizen of said country?

Answer: When you’re a criminal deportee.

It seems that New Zealand’s immigration and citizenship policies are coming back to bite it in the behind, or are they?

The recent attempt by the media to manufacture some outrage over “those bloody Australians” and their “evil” immigration policy regarding their plans to deport NZ passport holders Alex Viane or Jacob Symonds to New Zealand misses the real issues around how Kiwis are treated in Ozzie and how we hand out kiwi citizenship on rather loose grounds.

Firstly, yes Australia is treating some Kiwis living in Oz like crap by cancelling/changing their visa conditions and attempting to raise university fees in what should been seen as a blatant attempt to abuse the reciprocal relationship that we currently have.

And yes, Australia’s treatment of refugees in places like Manus Island and their policy or turning back the boats of people trying to cross over to Australia from Indonesia is draconian and cruel.

And yes, the deportation of some Kiwis from OZ for very minor matters is pretty rank stuff.

However, both Symonds and Viane are not your average deportees and are, in fact being deported due to their criminal records, to the country that they have citizenship in: namely New Zealand, and criminal deportation is not the same as normal deportation. If you are a criminal deportee (in either NZ or OZ) the means by which you can be removed are much shorter and sharper.

The fact that New Zealand has had to resort to diplomatic measures to try and stop this indicates how weak our position is because at the end of the day, regardless of why they are actually being deported, they hold citizenship in NZ and that makes them citizens of NZ and thus are fit to be deported back here.

And we can’t refuse to take them because in doing so we would be behaving like places such as Zimbabwe or one of those other fun countries which don’t accept people being deported back there and that would make just as bad as them or worse, as we would be seen as hypocrites.

We might not like Australia deporting Kiwis with criminal convictions but NZ has similar legislation in place to do just the same thing and can and has done such things in the past and that what things like sovereignty and citizenship are all about.

Also statements by PM Jacinda Ardern that Australia should only be deporting those who have “roots” in New Zealand is just her flapping her rather considerable gums, and she knows this, because once you give someone citizenship it does not lapse simply because you haven't lived in New Zealand since or don’t have any “roots” here, it remains until the day you die.

The real issue here is that getting a New Zealand passport has become a matter of convenience for many people and we give them away like candy so the potential for abuse or unintended consequences exists.

We gave one to creepy billionaire Peter Theil with no questions asked when he had barely spent any time here and was essentially in the same boat as Viane: an individual who gained an NZ passport (and therefore citizenship) with no real “roots” here nor any clear motive other than wanting to have one.

In Viane’s case it may have been because his parents wanted to live in Australia and therefore made use of the reciprocal relationship agreements in place between us and them (as NZ passports are historically easier to get), he got his papers and went off to live in Oz and there is nothing particularly wrong with that unless we want to radically reshape how we grant citizenship. 

And for Symonds his parents may have just left NZ when he was very young (such as my daughter who was born in NZ but lived in Singapore from the age of six months to eight years old) and lived in OZ ever since, nothing there takes away his right to be a Kiwi.

But in Theil’s case he got to become a Kiwi by being immensely rich and then ripping off the NZ government for even more money and probably laughed all the way back to his platinum plated private jet before zooming back to the US; and at the end of the day that is far worse than Viane or Symonds as we can only assume that Viane had to meet some actual criteria while Theil was well below the requirements and got in anyway because he* had “friends” in the right place.

None of these men have clear roots in NZ and none of them have contributed anything positive to NZ yet we gave all of them the go ahead because?

In many ways this is the chickens coming home to roost for our immigration and citizenship policy’s while average Kiwis in Oz still get short shirt from the Australian govt and a little support from their own.

In reality the only defense is to be a lot more careful when granting citizenship and (my personal preference) not giving out dual citizenship (ie if you want to be a Kiwi you have to renounce any other citizenship you hold). It would not solve all the issues but it would put the kibosh on people backdooring Australia and then getting deported back to NZ when they become criminals there and make us less attractive to those who want to use NZ as some sort of bolthole for the ultra-rich.

And then there is the issue of these people being criminals: is that why the media is making such a stink about this? What has their being a criminal got to do with NZ wanting to use diplomatic means to prevent their return or Jacinda saying that they don't have "roots" here? Obviously it does or it would not be mentioned so prominently and especially when the media is usually on the side of people who are fighting deportation from NZ.

I would love to see Jacinda Ardern going on TV and denouncing Peter Theil as having no “roots’ in NZ and saying that NZ will be using "all diplomatic means" to get his creepy ass out of NZ but I am not holding my breath.

There is a lot more in the NZ/OZ immigration and citizenship debate than just a few crims being sent back to where their passport says they are from but you would not know that form the way the media has spun this out.

Kiwis love to talk about how great being a Kiwi is but we often undervalue it when we make citizenship such any easy deal and the cases of Theil, Viane and (possibly) Symonds demonstrate that. 

*-Or in reality, his money because if some other gay libertarian German with a taste for human blood (but a whole lot less money) rocked up and asked for citizenship his welcome would have been far less accommodating methinks.


  1. Anon: Your posts will continue to be deleted until you get a identifiable name as asked many times previous. Get a new name and we can have this discussion.

  2. If you want to have that discussion please get an identifiable name. Its not a major ask and other sites have similar login/identity requirements, including blogs. Otherwise you comments will be continue to be deleted.

  3. We can have as many discussion as you like but when you have a name that identifies yourself. Asking someone to identify themselves (even if a nom de plume) is not censorship or anything else like you feel it is. Its asking you to assume an identifiable persona so any comments you make can be identified from all others commentors, rather than your comments being blurred into those of anyone else who decides to post under the Anon title (as may have happened in the past). If you are so wedded to hiding behind a name which allows you, and anyone else who wants to use it, no sense of character or civility then thats your choice but on this blog (as with others) you have to assume some identifiable presence and given that all others posters on this and other blogs do so, I fail to see why you cant do that unless you have some nefarious reason to do so. Even with a nom de plume you can post to your hearts content, you will be still subject to the rules of civil discourse but you seem able to be able to do that. I'm asking nicely to get another name but the ongoing deletion of you, or anyone else posting under Anonymous will remain.

  4. "But in Theil’s case he got to become a Kiwi by being immensely rich and then ripping off the NZ government for even more money and probably laughed all the way back to his platinum plated private jet before zooming back to the US;"
    That is simply not the case. Wealth had nothing to do with it. Thiel became a citizen because he runs Palantir, and the old guard of the security-intelligence apparatus placed the FORN obstacle in the path of those who believe they need Thiel to facilitate their mass public surveillance operation. Even the mainstream media now implicitly acknowledge the SIS/GCSB connection as the deciding factor in the Thiel citizenship affair, and you have also researched the story, so why hold to the assinine left-wing presumption that it was all about wealth? The "citizenship for sale" story suits the "security chiefs" but it is simply not true. So why persist with it?