A New Zealander locked up in an Indonesian jail has made a personal plea to Prime Minister John Key to help get him home.

Antony de Malmanche, from Whanganui, is serving a 15-year sentence in a Bali prison for drug-smuggling. He was caught with 1.7kg of crystal methamphetamine when travelling between Hong Kong and Indonesia in 2014, but his family say he was the unwitting victim of an online scam.

Key arrives in Indonesia for trade talks tonight, and de Malmanche is appealing to the Government to allow him to be transferred to a New Zealand prison.

Speaking via email, the 54-year-old said he had accepted he could be in jail for the full 15 years.


"I doubt I will last that long," he told the Herald on Sunday, referring to his health problems. De Malmanche appealed to the Prime Minister to take the unprecedented step of permitting a transfer from Kerobokan Prison.

"What will it take for you to take notice of my plight?" he said.

"If I was one of your family members would you still sit back and not interfere?"

Justice Minister Amy Adams has told the family that a transfer is out of the question.

"A prison transfer scheme would bring significant financial and resource implications for New Zealand and its prison system," she said.

"This would involve diverting scarce public resources from domestic priorities to repatriate New Zealanders who, knowing the risks, have broken the law of another country."

De Malmanche's family was still holding out hope. Their lawyer Craig Tuck said New Zealand was the only OECD country which did not have some form of prison transfer arrangement with Indonesia.

Tuck said he was putting his efforts into a transfer because appealing the sentence was hugely risky, and could potentially result in a longer sentence or even the death penalty.

De Malmanche has served a year and a half of his sentence at the jail, where Australian Schapelle Corby and members of the "Bali 9" were also locked up for drug trafficking.

"I am faring okay most days," he said.

"[However], my health has not been too good. I still have the odd angina attack, many infections, and lately some bad faint spells."

Capital punishment in the firing line during Key visit

John Key's first meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widido comes as the South East-Asian country prepares to execute 14 more people for drug crimes.

In the first round of executions since two of the "Bali 9" were killed last April, 16 more foreign nationals and locals charged with trafficking will soon face a firing squad.

New Zealand opposes the death penalty, and Key is expected to raise the issue with Widido in formal talks in Jakarta tomorrow.

Key is in the country for two days after an official visit to Europe, and is being accompanied by a trade delegation of 25 CEOs.

One of New Zealand's long-standing foreign policy goals is the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. Around 40 countries, including Indonesia, still use capital punishment.

There had been some hope that state-sanctioned killings were on the way out in Indonesia after a four-year moratorium between 2009 and 2013.

A date is not set for the next round of executions.