News from Immigration NZ
The first people trafficking charges in New Zealand have been brought by Immigration New Zealand. Police arrested two men in the Motueka area this morning and the men made their first appearance in Nelson District Court. No pleas were entered and they were bailed until next Thursday.
The defendants have been charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into New Zealand. Trafficking in persons is punishable under the Crimes Act with imprisonment for up to 20 years, a fine of $500,000 or both.
One of the defendants has also been charged, along with a third defendant who was arrested in Auckland this morning, under the Immigration Act 1987 in relation to false refugee claims they organised and lodged for the 18 Indian nationals once they arrived in New Zealand. The maximum penalty is up to seven years’ imprisonment and / or a fine not exceeding $100,000.
The third defendant has been bailed to appear at Nelson District Court on 4 September.
INZ’s Assistant General Manager, Compliance and Border Operations, Peter Devoy, says the prosecution is an extremely significant development.
“It shows how seriously we treat such allegations and the fact this is the first prosecution for people trafficking in New Zealand sends a very strong message that we will thoroughly investigate any other cases,” Mr Devoy says.