MP to fight for fam­ily to stay in NZ

The Press - - News - DEB­BIE JAMIESON

New NZ First MP Mark Pat­ter­son will present the case of a Sri Lankan fam­ily liv­ing in Queen­stown to the Immigration Min­is­ter, if the fam­ily’s at­tempts to stay in New Zealand fail.

Di­ne­sha Amaras­inghe, her hus­band, Sam, and their three sons are fac­ing de­por­ta­tion on Novem­ber 21 after liv­ing in New Zealand for eight years due to Amaras­inghe, the pri­mary visa holder, de­vel­op­ing mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis three years ago.

Immigration ad­vo­cate Shane Robin­son plans to ap­peal the Immigration NZ de­ci­sion and file an ap­peal on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds. ‘‘If both of those options fail, then the fam­ily’s only hope is in­ter­ven­tion by the min­is­ter of immigration,’’ he says.

Pat­ter­son, who lives in the Clutha-South­land elec­torate that in­cludes Queen­stown, has met the fam­ily at the re­quest of the lo­cal com­mu­nity and Queen­stown Pri­mary School, where the boys, aged 11, 10 and 8, are pupils.

‘‘The school is quite dis­tressed with the sit­u­a­tion. It is pretty un­for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances they are in,’’ he said. ‘‘Ob­vi­ously there’s a lot of emo­tion but with these things there’s also a lot of rules.’’

He had been fur­ther briefed on their sit­u­a­tion and would not in­ter­vene with a plea to the Immigration Min­is­ter Iain LeesGal­loway un­less the ap­peals failed, he said.

‘‘I’m not giv­ing any indi­ca­tion whether it will be suc­cess­ful or not but there’s no doubt than no one can be failed to be moved by their per­sonal cir­cum­stances.’’

Sam said they had had of­fers of as­sis­tance and sup­port from many peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing an of­fer to cover their le­gal fees. ‘‘I know ev­ery­body around town but they didn’t know our sit­u­a­tion pre­vi­ously. Now they know ev­ery­thing and they are happy to help.’’

The fam­ily have an ap­point­ment to meet with CluthaSouth­land MP and Na­tional Party rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hamish Walker next week.

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