‘We don’t want him back’: Bid to bring killer back rejected
Australian-born terrorist Brenton Tarrant who murdered 51 New Zealanders at two Christchurch mosques should serve out his sentence in New Zealand according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Despite calls for a prisoner swap agreement to ensure Australia picks up the tab for some of the enormous cost of incarcerating the terrorist, the Prime Minister said on Thursday that New Zealand had not raised the issue with him.
The Australian, who arrived in New Zealand in 2017, is the first man to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in the country for the nation's worst gun massacre.
But the costs are likely to run into the millions, with the prisoner currently costing over NZ$4,930 a day due to the extra levels of security, to keep behind bars.
"This is not a matter which the Prime Minister Ardern has raised with me,'' Mr Morrison said on Thursday.
"It's normal practice that criminals convicted of these offences serve their sentences in that jurisdiction, and that's my understanding of what the arrangements are and no request has been made to Australia for that to be any different."
In fact, Ms Ardern has previously raised the prospect of a prison swap of Tarrant but only after "justice is done here first".
Cabinet papers have previously revealed jailing him will cost $NZ3.59 million ($A3.33 million) for the first two years of his stay at Auckland's Paremoremo Prison.
"It is a high cost case," Ms Ardern said.
"We do need to make sure that justice is done here first," she said.
"(Australia) tends to (deport Kiwis) at the end of their sentence as opposed to at the beginning.
"Usually it's the case that someone will see the sentence in the country in which they are sentenced."
The Australian government has deported thousands of people with Kiwi passports to New Zealand since 2014, a source of ongoing tensions between both countries.
But the deportations traditionally occur after prisoners have served out their sentences as there is currently not prison swap deal in place.
Writing in The Conversation, New Zealand law professor Alexander Gillespie recently called for a new prisoner transfer agreement to send Tarrant home to Australia.
"Sign a prisoner transfer agreement. Exchange Tarrant and make him serve out his sentence in Australia, as ruled by the New Zealand judicial system,'' he said.
"Revise the rules for the deportation of New Zealanders who have committed crimes in Australia but been resident for a long time. Move the threshold for deportation from one to three years in prison and make it reciprocal.
"Do this and we might start to move forward."
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Mr Morrison also paid tribute to the resilience of survivors of the massacre and their families.
"And I remember these events, as we all do, terribly and, once again, as New Zealanders in particular are brought to remembrance of that, just, unthinkable day,'' he said.
"My heart goes out to them and, it brings it all back, even as we stand here, it's bringing it back for me. Jenny and I were incredibly touched by meeting the survivors of that attack, and the incredible grace that they showed afterwards was astounding, and inspiring and so, to all those affected by that, including the Muslim community here in Australia, for whom it's brought remembrance, still thinking, still thinking of you."
Originally published as PM declares: 'We don't want him back'