NZ bikie gets refugee status in Australia

NZ Newswire November 14, 2012, 9:11 am

A former New Zealand bikie, given refugee status in Australia after seeking asylum from fellow criminals, has become the centre of a new political row in Canberra.

A tribunal decided that the 36-year-old Kiwi, who was in a witness protection scheme before flying to Australia in 2005, faced a threat of significant harm in his home country.

News Limited reports that Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen appealed the ruling in the Federal Court. But the court cleared the man to stay because of the government's own protection visa rules.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the Labor government's new asylum laws had allowed a convicted criminal from New Zealand to gain asylum from "fellow crims and bikies back in New Zealand who want to settle some scores.

"What's next? An 'underbelly visa'? This absurd farce is just another mess of Labor's own making."

News Limited says the man was warned when he arrived in Australia that if he committed one offence on his temporary visa he could be removed.

However, he went on to drink and drive, commit forgery, and breaching his bail conditions. He has also been charged with weapons and drugs offences, and receiving stolen property.

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