Friday, September 18, 2009

Sharing the love

New Zealand and Australia have a reciprocal open immigration agreement between our citizens though it must be said that the traffic is mostly one way, Kiwis seeking adventure and opportunity and the bright lights of Sydney and Melbourne and in more recent years, Brisbane. We’re a reasonably well behaved and hard working bunch generally so it mostly works out pretty well for all concerned.

There’s a recent high profile exception to that rule.

In 1977 at the tender age of 12 months old, Patricia Carol Toia moved to Australia from New Zealand with her family.

In the 30 years since that time the delightful Ms Toia, who is a heroin addict, has racked up a truly impressive rap sheet  - she’s been convicted of hundreds of crimes and has done an impressive 30 stints in Australian jails. In fact 56 of her convictions relate to crimes she committed while in jail. Toia has never held a driver licence but has so many driving convictions that she’s been banned from driving until 2060.

Anyway, the game is now up and the Australian government wants rid of her.

Toia appealed deportation to New Zealand on the grounds that she has no family nor friends here, in fact no connections of any kind. She’s never been back to NZ in 30 years. Too bad says the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which recently voted to uphold the original 2004 deportation decision and return Ms Toia to the land of the long white cloud.  

"She is a threat to the Australian community and Australia deserves protection against her given that the risk of recidivism is, as must be obvious, very substantial indeed.”

Last week Toia was flown ‘home’ to her country of birth on a charter jet. She was accompanied by three New South Wales security officers and two departmental officials.

Welcome home honey.

I understand that when we’re visitors anywhere we should behave nicely and obey the rules but surely it can be said that Toia is an Australian for all intents and purposes. She lived there all her life and despite the fact her parents never applied for citizenship for her, as they were entitled to do on her behalf at anytime through her childhood, she is certainly more Australian than Kiwi.

Bad call Immigration Minister Mr Chris Evans.


  1. And it looks like the one little technicality is what got her sent, well, not 'home,' but back to where she was born.

  2. So are you renting her a room?
    Sounds like their courts are too lenient. Just like ours. People with rap sheets a mile long given probation again and again.
    We let a ton of them stay here after horrendous crimes but finally the public has gone after the courts for deportations of these criminals.

  3. Deportation to where Lori? I take it you're not talking about 'official' Canadians? I think you've missed my point, it's not relevant about toughness or otherwise of courts - it's about when does someone become a Canadian or an Australian or a kiwi? After they've lived their whole life there or when they have the piece of paper? We are the product of our environment and our associations so surely being completely raised in a country makes you a product of that country?

  4. Lou there should be some sort of statute of limitations on leaving a country and being accepted into the new country. I hate that these rules are being abused by some countries just to crack down a few rotten eggs.
    So now she is Aotearoa's problem - and that sucks.

    Back in 1996 my late husband was almost not allowed to leave NZ to come home to Canada - made no sense. After he was cleared to board the jet he made up his mind to get his Canadian Citizenship - and my son has both. But I promise if he ever moves to NZ he will be a good citizen.

  5. What is confusing me here is, why did they wait so long to deport her. What I am saying is, I agree...she's been there too long to be considered a kiwi. This action should have been taken about 25 jail sentences ago.

  6. I assume JJ it was because they pretty much accepted she was Australian and so they dealt with her until it reached a point where it became completely intolerable to them and they started to think a bit more laterally and look for a way out.

    This situation relates to my own family - my mum has never become a NZ citizen. She's been here 45 years here now but has never applied for formal recognition of her residency as she rightly or wrongly, sees that as being a slap in the face to Ireland. She's raised 4 kiwi kids and can't ever imagine living somewhere else. Is she a kiwi? Is she a kiwi until she does something antisocial? If she were to murder someone tomorrow would she be less a kiwi?

    My point is that just as Joanne stated, there must be a point where a country accepts that it must manage it's own problems. I don't know whether it's 20 years legal residence over the age of 18 or whether it's 20 years in total but there must come a point where the country of residence accepts that its problems are ITS problems and they can't be shunted off elsewhere because it's easier or cheaper.

  7. Well Lou, to become a citizen of Canada you must meet the requirements, pass medical, criminal and knowledge tests.
    An adult must have lived here for 3 years in the last 4 year period, children don't have to meet this requirement.
    You cannot become a citizen if you:

    * have been convicted of an indictable (criminal) offence or an offence under the Citizenship Act in the three years before you apply
    * are currently charged with an indictable offence or an offence under the Citizenship Act
    * are in prison, on parole or on probation
    * are under a removal order (have been ordered by Canadian officials to leave Canada)
    * are under investigation for, are charged with, or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity or
    * have had your Canadian citizenship taken away in the past five years.

    If someone doesn't apply when they are eligible that doesn't mean the country in question has to keep them.
    You cannot vote, you cannot claim a pension etc. Residence does not equal citizenship any more then parenting equals paternity.

  8. Thanks Lori for taking the time to comment again and I do understand what you're explaining to me. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I agree that if someone wants to immigrate and while they'e waiting through the residency period they commit crime, get rid of them. If though that person has lived in that country all their life then the problem belongs to that country.

  9. So....what now? I mean, she's in jail in New Zealand, right? And now, you guys have to foot the bill? Or, is she roaming the streets, looking for some new law she hasn't already broken? Yikes.

  10. She's on the loose. All jail time was served in Australia so she gets a fresh start here. I hope for her sake she can make it work for her.

  11. It's only in the last few years that the Australian government has applied this policy. She got it easier than the poor "Swedish" and "Serbian" guys - heroin addicts for decades after emigrating as babies. Both got deported without even being able to speak the language of their "home" country.

  12. Hi billy and welcome. I agree that's shocking, at least Patricia could speak the language I guess. I think it's a horrible policy and one that Australians should stand against - it's unfair.


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