Covid-19: Isolating 501 deportees ordered to MIQ after Auckland CBD incident

Four 501 deportees from Australia have had charges for breaching home isolation conditions dismissed but have been ordered back to MIQ for 48 hours.

The four recently returned to New Zealand under Australia’s controversial hard-line immigration legislation.

Flights resumed for deportees in November after a three-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 Delta outbreak.

A number of 501s are said to be completing the remainder of their isolation at the Metropolis hotel.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

A number of 501s are said to be completing the remainder of their isolation at the Metropolis hotel.

On Thursday, four men were charged with failing to comply with official guidelines, which required them to complete a managed isolation period.

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A 21-year-old man was also charged with behaving in a disorderly manner in Courthouse Ln in Auckland’s CBD on Wednesday.

However, at a hearing at Auckland District Court, the police prosecutor advised the breach of conditions charges could be dismissed, as the defendants had been ordered by the Department of Corrections to complete their remaining 48 hours of isolation at the Ramada Hotel.

The 21-year-old facing the disorderly behaviour charge was remanded on bail to reappear in court next year.

Corrections deputy National Commissioner Leigh Marsh said: “Four men subject to Returning Offender Orders were evicted from the accommodation where they were self-isolating yesterday [Wednesday] evening for disorderly behaviour.”

Marsh confirmed the charges were not going ahead.

“We are now arranging for the men to return to a managed isolation facility for their remaining isolation period.”

Stuff understands a number of deportees are staying at the Metropolis apartment building in the central city, though residents and business owners have not been informed.

From November 14, the managed isolation period for arrivals into New Zealand was reduced to seven days, followed by home isolation until a day nine negative test result is received.

A man, who Stuff agreed not to name, said there was an incident on Wednesday afternoon where a drunk returnee hopped into another person’s car and refused to leave.

“I felt sorry for him. These guys are being shipped over here and have no-one,” the man told Stuff.

He understood the Australian Border Force booked the rooms for the deportees to finish their three-day isolation in the community after spending time in MIQ.

A number of 501s originally underwent their enforced quarantine at the Ramada Hotel in July 2020.

DAVID WHITE/STUFF

A number of 501s originally underwent their enforced quarantine at the Ramada Hotel in July 2020.

However, he said they were mixing and mingling outside the apartments and causing a scene.

Despite being New Zealand citizens, those being deported on character grounds or due to criminal histories often have minimal links to this country.

Corrections’ Leigh Marsh said: “We recognise that the best scenario would have been for them to remain in managed isolation for the full 10-day period, rather than to face a disruptive move to a temporary address for self isolation after seven days.”

Marsh said Corrections was now “urgently” working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – which is in charge of MIQ – to allow 501s to stay in MIQ for the full isolation period.

Ahead of this incident, we were working with MBIE to allow people subject to a Returning Offender Order to stay in the dedicated managed isolation facility for the full isolation period. We are now urgently progressing this work, as we know it is critically important that people subject to a Returning Offender Order comply with isolation requirements in order to prevent any risk to the public.

Many have long ago served their time for offences and leave behind families in Australia, arriving in the country of their birth with little or no support networks.

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