New Zealand’s health minister has voiced displeasure at Australia’s plan to resume deportations in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. A secure isolation hotel is being prepared in Auckland to quarantine 30 New Zealand deportees from Australia; the first arrivals since Covid-19 gripped both sides of the Tasman. Health minister Chris Hipkins said: “We’re receiving them because we’re obliged to receive them but it would be wrong to say we’re happy about it. However, Australia is within its legal right to do what they’re doing.” Hipkins said the utmost would be done to ensure they were effectively quarantined, and safely released into the community. Filipa Payne, a detainees’ advocate and co-founder of the Iwi N Aus advocacy group, said that eight of the 30 people were being held in a detention centre in Melbourne, the centre of Australia’s most recent coronavirus outbreak. The other men were being held in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre and the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation centre. The men were “relieved” to be leaving detention. “Sadly they can’t wait to leave Australia, a place they used to call home,” Payne said. Before the pandemic, about five deportees a week arrived in New Zealand from Australia. The 30… Read full this story
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