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Inland Revenue has received a surge of inquiries from student loan defaulters worried they could be arrested if they return to New Zealand.
One man who ignored his repayment obligations contacted the Weekend Herald from Australia and said he would now be scared to return for funerals or weddings.
The Government is unrepentant about the first use of the hardline measure - and a new trick up its sleeve will soon enable thousands of loan defaulters in Australia to be tracked down.
It says the arrest of Ngatokotoru Puna, 40, as he tried to leave New Zealand on Monday was a "last resort" after repeated warnings. Puna told media he was the nephew of Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna