One of the more than 60 New Zealanders held in a Sydney detention centre says he appreciated a visit by Labour leader Andrew Little.
Blair Rodger, 44, moved to Australia from the North Shore about 30 years ago, and has spent five months in Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.
"I appreciated someone giving a damn," he said of Mr Little's visit today with MP Phil Goff.
Mr Rodger said he ended up at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre after serving six months in prison on low level cannabis charges.
He has an Australian wife and two teenage daughters, and ran a successful restaurant.
Once his sentence was complete, an historic shoplifting conviction saw him held for deportation, and he has been languishing at Villawood while appealing the deportation.
His business has collapsed, meaning his wife has had to take a benefit, and his eldest daughters' grades are suffering.
"It's been a heart strain on everyone," Mr Rodger, who speaks with an Australian accent, told the Herald.
Mr Little and Mr Goff met with two other Kiwi detainees on a day in which temperatures nudged 40 degrees.
Asylum-seekers are also held at Villawood, including families. A child's play area was visible through high gates at one area of the complex.
Media were kept to the perimeter of the centre, in an industrial area and with a visible security presence.
There, Karolina Roberts, partner of Kiwi detainee Jarl Wiki, detained after serving time for robbery with menaces, said she was worried for his mental health.
"He is crying for help, really, and I just don't know what to do anymore."
The interviews were interrupted by one local woman, who berated New Zealand media for giving attention to the detainees.
On Wednesday Mr Little met Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and was told there would be no change in policy.
He asked for better discretion to be exercised at the point of revoking a visa. A key objection to the policy from Labour is people who have lived in Australia since childhood being deported to New Zealand.
The only concession made by Mr Dutton - who has refused repeated interview requests from New Zealand media - was that he would look into any individual cases brought to him by Labour.
The primary purpose of Mr Little's two-day Australian trip was to highlight the lack of rights between an estimated 250,000 to 350,000 Kiwis living in Australia on "non protected" visas have - including little welfare safety nets, and no automatic path to permanent residency or citizenship.
Both Labour and National-led Governments have been lobbying for change since Kiwis' rights were greatly reduced in February 2001 by John Howard's Liberal Government.
Mr Little, who after his time at Villawood met former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, said there was a broad recognition that there was some unfairness in the treatment of Kiwi expats.