Kiwi mother-of-two who was deported from Australia after her life ‘imploded’ reveals her heartache at being ‘torn away’ from her young children and the country she has called home since she was nine
- Taryn O’Dowd was deported back to New Zealand after two criminal convictions
- She broke into a vacant holiday home and was caught with methamphetamine
- O’Dowd tried to appeal her deportation, saying she was not a community risk
- She slammed comments likening her deportation to ‘taking out the trash’
A New Zealand woman who was booted out of Australia after breaking into a home and being caught with drugs has slammed comments likening her deportation to ‘taking out the trash’.
Mother-of-two Taryn O’Dowd was one of a handful of convicted criminals dubbed the 501 deportees who were last month flown back across the Tasman, never to return to Australia.
The 41-year-old had lived in Australia since she was nine but said her life recently ‘imploded’ when she was forced to flee a violent partner, the New Zealand Herald reported.
She was jailed for three months after breaking into a vacant holiday home while escaping the violence and within a year she had another conviction recorded against her after being caught with 10g of methamphetamine.
New Zealand national Taryn O’Dowd (pictured) was deported from Australia last month after being convicted of two crimes
O’Dowd admitted she made ‘some poor choices’ but did not believe she was a risk to the community, adding she deserved a second chance having already ‘served my time’ in prison.
‘I believe I’m intrinsically a good person. I have hurt myself and my family but I don’t think I was ever a risk to the community,’ she said.
‘Anybody else in the same circumstance, who did what I did and went to jail, they get to go out and live their life and go back to their families.’
She said she was shocked to discover she was being deported and unsuccessfully tried to appeal the decision, believing non-citizens convicted of crimes who have spent the majority of their lives in Australia should not have their visas cancelled.
‘I just thought, “they are not going to tear a mother away from her children”,’ O’Dowd said.
Under Australia’s Migration Act, a non-citizen who ‘is or may be a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community’ or is ‘not of good character’ can have their visa cancelled and be deported under section 501.
More than 1,000 New Zealanders have been deported from Australia since 2014. Pictured, a female convicted criminal being escorted to a plane so she could be sent back to New Zealand
O’Dowd (pictured) admitted she made ‘some poor choices’ in recent years but did not believe she was a risk to the community and needed to be deported
The other New Zealand nationals O’Dowd was deported alongside were convicted of serious crimes including murder, sexual assault and drug trafficking.
O’Dowd said the deportees feel like ‘the rejects of society not wanted by anyone’ and told how ‘one of my family have reached out to me’ since arriving back in New Zealand.
She said the most difficult part of returning to New Zealand was being separated from her 12-year-old daughter, eight-year-old son and her mother.
Home affairs minister Peter Dutton, who featured in a television news reporter about the deportation, said it was ‘serious offenders’ leaving Australian shores.
‘Our country’s safer for having deported them,’ he said, before also adding it was a form of ‘taking the trash out, so we can then make Australia a safer place’.
But O’Dowd said people should not ‘be so quick to judge’ about her situation and claimed she ‘came out of prison a better person than when I went in’.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured left with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison) has been a fierce critic of Australia’s deportation policy
Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) said the nation is ‘safer’ for having deported convicted criminals
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has previously criticised the deportation policy, which she claims sends back Kiwis who have little or no links to her country.
More than 1,000 New Zealanders have been deported from Australia since 2014 when changes were made to the Migration Act.
Drug offences, assault and child sex offences are the most common charges that result in deportation.
The law means even if an individual is an Australian permanent resident, and has lived and worked in the country for decades, they can still be deported.
New Zealanders are thought to be the largest group to have had their visas cancels and be held in Australian immigration detention centres.