Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

$100,000 to help deportees from Australia

Christmas Island detention centre. Photo / Getty Images
Christmas Island detention centre. Photo / Getty Images

Another $100,000 will be given to an organisation that helps former prisoners reintegrate into society, as more deportees arrive from Australia.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins said Auckland-based Prisoners' Aid and Rehabilitation Society (PARS) had helped more than 100 returning offenders so far.

Today's announcement is the second grant PARS has received to help settle deportees from Australia -- last October it was given $100,000.

"Another $100,000 will enable PARS to support more returning offenders to reintegrate and help them to live crime-free," Ms Collins said.

Before the two grants, the service had only received funding to help reintegrate domestic prisoners, but had still helped deportees sent from Australia.

That had been manageable until a new law in Australia, introduced in December 2014, enabled the deportation of non-Australians who are sentenced cumulatively to a year or more in prison, or who are judged to fail character tests.

Riots at the Christmas Island detention centre and the arrival of criminals in New Zealand, including on the so-called "Con Air" flight in November, have made the deportations a major political issue in New Zealand -- but the policy has support from both the Australian Government and Labor opposition.

As of December 30 last year, there were 183 New Zealanders held in detention centres, including 158 men and 25 women.

PARS staff will meet the deportee at the airport, and help the person sign up to bank accounts, benefits, an IRD account and arrange immediate accommodation. That support is ongoing.

- NZ Herald

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