Violent offender sent to NZ

By Andrew Koubaridis

Australia deports Kiwi-born man jailed for six attacks including three on taxi drivers.

Sonny Naea moved with his family to Australia when he was 10 but a condition of his release from jail is deportation to New Zealand. Photo / Richard Robinson
Sonny Naea moved with his family to Australia when he was 10 but a condition of his release from jail is deportation to New Zealand. Photo / Richard Robinson

A New Zealand-born man jailed in Queensland for attacks on taxi drivers and a pizza deliverer is being deported to this country - despite having lived half his life in Australia.

Sonny Naea, who turns 21 next month, was sentenced to two years and 10 months in jail in 2010 for an attack on a pizza delivery driver, a taxi driver and two other assaults. While he was on parole he assaulted two more taxi drivers.

He told authorities he harboured a grudge against taxi drivers after his mother had both her legs broken when she was hit by a taxi in 2009. The memory was triggered each time he saw a taxi.

Naea moved with his family to Australia when he was 10 but a condition of his release from jail is deportation to New Zealand. Most of his relatives live in Australia and he has expressed fears he would struggle to adjust to life here.

One commentator believes the number of New Zealanders being deported from Australia, despite having lived there for many years, is likely to continue as the Kiwi population of Australia steadily grows.

Naea has been in custody since he was 17. While in jail he worked in the prison workshop, although he was eventually banned for disruptive behaviour.

David McLaren, lawyer for the Minister of Immigration, conceded Naea had spent much of his life in Australia, and his family ties were there rather than in New Zealand. However the seriousness of his offences and the need to protect the Australian community "weighed heavily" in favour of cancelling his visa.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal decided Naea might have made some contribution to Australian life through his schooling and part-time work - but this was largely erased by his offending.

Naea is expected to live with an aunt and is likely to seek work at a family friend's hairdressing business.

Massey University Professor Paul Spoonley said there had been a significant increase in the NZ population of Australia over the past four years.

He said examples like Naea's presented a problem here, too. "He's virtually an Australian in all but name and we're going to have to pick up the pieces when he arrives back."

- NZ Herald

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