Sunday best

I rarely watch the Sunday programme on TV1, generally opting to avoid any mainstream TV, for obvious reasons. But somehow, we ended up watching Sunday on 29 July, and in particular, they ran a feature on the issue regarding Australians deporting New Zealand criminals. Actually, I am really glad I saw this because it elucidated a number of things for me that I really hadn’t been fully aware of. And we all need to be aware because these people are being brought back to New Zealand, and this is not a good thing.

Firstly, the interview was run by Australian Peter Fitzsimons, who was an international rugby player and an outspoken rugby commentator in his day, and a thoroughly good bloke. I used to love his partisan rugby commentaries, which showed him as a bit of an All Black lover, although he would criticise the New Zealanders to death, if it got him some media credit. Full of heart and personality, he was one of the best sports commentators on TV.

But good bloke or not, Pete, you should have stuck to rugby.

In his preamble, Fitzsimons implied that most of the deportees from Australia were people with traffic fines or similar, who had done nothing of any significance and should be treated fairly. Then, he selected two men who had recently been deported from Australia and interviewed them both.

The first, Sean Wynyard, is a 44 year old who has lived in Australia for 20 years.

He beat up his wife so badly, she ended up in hospital. He went to jail for 12 months, and was deported as soon as his sentence was completed.

Hardly nothing more than a speeding fine, eh?

Fitzsimons reports that Wynyard has ‘reconciled with his wife’ and hopes she and the children will visit. Obviously, it is not a full reconciliation, because she and the kids could come and live here with him. After all, we always welcome Australians to our shores. But, it appears not. That tells you something.

Somewhere in there, there was a brief clip of Andrew Little in full angry mode, saying that “we don’t think we are being treated fairly” by the Australians, but I really don’t see why they would not want to deport wife beaters. After all, one of the rules for deportation is if someone has served a prison sentence of 12 months or more. Wynyard qualifies for that, even if he really is just a poor guy who has been grossly misunderstood. Which I doubt.

Remember all the fuss about Tony Veitch? He still cannot return to his TV career, because people hate men who beat women. I’m not saying he should, but… this particular wife beater is okay? How does that work?

The second deportee is a Maori man from Gisborne, known as Kohapu. He has done no wrong. Again, he was not born in Australia, and went to prison, although only for five months in his case. Why? Because he became a member of the Rebels Motorcycle gang.

Oh, and just so you know, he has a tattoo on his neck that says ‘F.T.P’. Forgive me, moderators. Apparently, that stands for ‘Fxxx the Police’.

Seems like a nice guy, eh?

Rebels bikie gang generic photo

The other criteria for deportation in Australia is being of ‘bad character’. We are not crazy about gangs here in New Zealand either, so if the Australians want to deport gang members as people of ‘bad character’, it is hard to disagree. Particularly seeing that, as a country, we are trying to ban gang patches in a lot of towns and cities. But why are we bothering to do this if gang members are all sweethearts really?

So our justice minister, and acting prime minister think we are being hard done by because Australia doesn’t want our riff raff?

I have always respected a sovereign nation’s right to treat non citizens in any way they see fit. We do it. We may have only sent back nine Australians, but we have done it. The Australians have sent over one thousand back to New Zealand but can we really say it is unfair if we do it as well? Bearing in mind that there are a lot more New Zealanders living in Australia than the other way around?

If New Zealanders living in Australia don’t bother to take out citizenship and then commit crimes, they know what is coming to them. It isn’t exactly the world’s greatest secret. But what I found interesting was that Peter Fitzsimons article did nothing to persuade me that New Zealanders in Australia are not getting a fair suck of the sav. In fact, I agree with Andrew Little and Winston Peters. Australia should keep our wife beaters and gang members. Because, sure as anything, we don’t want them back here.