19 Oct 2015

Labour MP still hopes to get access to detention centre

4:37 pm on 19 October 2015

Labour Party MP Kelvin Davis, who is on Christmas Island, says he remains hopeful he will be able to visit New Zealanders in detention there.

Mr Davis said he has been getting messages from detainees, who Australia is trying to deport, telling him how desperate the situation is for those being held.

Kelvin Davis at JustSpeak's public discussion on prisons in September 2015.

Kelvin Davis at JustSpeak's public discussion on prisons in September. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

He said authorities on the island had told him to reapply for access to the centre using different forms.

Mr Davis said he thought they were being deliberately obstructive.

"I think they are really dragging the chain in the hope that there's a plane leaving tomorrow and we'll be on it, and I'm pretty sure that if we tell them that we are on that plane they'd say, 'oh and by the way, you can visit on Wednesday'."

Mr Davis said he received a distressing text message from one of the detainees early this morning.

"He said another guy has cut his neck and wrists with a razor blade and is now up in medical - 'why do we have to endure the pain of living with this shit... some of us have just been rehabilitated in jail about suicide and all the rest, and yet we are forced to witness people cutting and burning themselves."

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said there will be no reversal of the law change which has led to a jump in the numbers of New Zealanders in detention, but he has promised officials would be more compassionate when considering appeals from those wanting to stay in Australia.

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