New NZ MP to fight deportation of Sri Lankan family in Queenstown

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, Stuff reports.

After eight years of living and working in New Zealand, Dinesha Amarasinghe, her husband Sam and their three sons Subath, 11, Binath, 10, and Senath, 8, are facing deportation on November 21 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.

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

“The school are obviously 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 Lees-Galloway 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.”

The family had been moved by the large number of people who had expressed support for them after their story was published on Stuff.co.nz on Tuesday.

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 Clutha-Southland MP and National Party representative Hamish Walker next week.