Act leader David Seymour says Immigration NZ's treatment of Mark Middleton, the stepfather of murdered schoolgirl Karla Cardno, is "outrageous" and he has called on the Government to step in.
Middleton, aged 60, who has been in New Zealand since the age of four, was arrested at his workplace and held in a police cell for a night last week and told he was an overstayer.
"Instead of contacting him by phone or email, Immigration NZ burst into his workplace, threw him in jail and gave him no access to the phone," said Seymour.
• Stepfather of murder victim Karla Cardno kept in cell and issued deportation notice
• Lawyer's plea for Govt to halt deportation of Mark Middleton
• Karla Cardno's stepfather 'humbled' by outpouring of support
• Kate Hawkesby: Plan to deport Karla Cardno's stepfather Mark Middleton is callous and heavy handed
With about 10,000 overstayers in this country, Immigration knew full well there were far more serious cases it should attend to, Seymour said.
"That it chose to round up and throw in jail a hardworking man who has been in the country since 1962 rather than encouraging him to apply for a visa, is nothing short of an outrage."
Seymour said Labour had been up in arms when Australia began deporting New Zealanders who had lived in Australia for most of their lives.
The same compassion should be shown to Middleton, said Seymour. His deportation order should be cancelled and he should be issued with a section 61 visa.
Discretionary decisions for individuals is usually the domain of the Associate Immigration Minister, who is now Kris Faafoi.
A spokeswoman for Faafoi said yesterday that no request for ministerial intervention had been received.
Middleton was sentenced to nine months imprisonment in 2001 for threats made against Karla Cardno's killer, Paul Joseph Dally, but the sentence was suspended and he did not serve time.
Karla Cardno was aged 13 when Dally snatched her from Lower Hutt in 1989, and raped and tortured her then buried her alive.
Middleton says he has been overwhelmed by support shown to him since the Herald on Sunday revealed he was facing deportation.
He told the Herald today that he had had not yet appealed to the minister.
He and his lawyer, Keith Jefferies, were trying to get his file from Immigration New Zealand but were having difficulty.
"We want the file and we want to know what my status is and they are being very reluctant to send us that.
"We will be making submissions tomorrow and if they fail, we are going to have to go to the minister."
He said he has been trying to get school and health records to prove he had grown up in New Zealand because Immigration had not had a record of him before 1986.
He had found his admission form to primary school in Eastern Hutt in 1962.
"I'll tell you one thing – it has actually brought back a whole raft of wonderful memories, from the time my parents arrived in New Zealand.
"They were all joyous memories."