Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Opinion - The Shier Family Revisted

Remember the Schier family who were deported to Germany last year because the father, Gunther, failed to declare a previous marijuana conviction when he arrived in New Zealand? Young daughter, Bianca, had a birthday and Christmas wish - to come back to New Zealand. John Howard writes.

In a pre-Christmas letter to friends and supporters, including myself, mother Petra Schier, says "Bianca's birthday is in two days and when asked what she was wishing for she said, I want to go back to New Zealand and if that wish can't come true, then it has to be my Christmas wish."

The Schier family, including the three New Zealand-born children, were deported last year by Immigration Minister, Tuariki Delamere.

Mr Schier had arrived in New Zealand some years previously and failed to disclose a previous marijuana conviction on his immigration forms. He maintains that he did not fully understand English at the time and he didn't fill-out the occupation section of the form either because he didn't understand that word.

The German authorities have since expunged his conviction from the records.

Nevertheless, following protracted court cases, which ultimately led to the Court of Appeal, the Immigration Minister deported them last year.

In the Court of Appeal the Immigration Service had argued, which was not challenged and was accepted by the Court: - "The children remain citizens of New Zealand. They retain all the rights given to them by New Zealand statutes."

Not true.

There are laws still on our statute books, albeit ancient one's, which say, " Item, that no man of what estate or condition that he be shall be put out of land or tenement......without being brought in answer by due process of law."

The children were put out of their New Zealand home and were never "brought in answer by due process of law."

Then there is Magna Carta, also law in New Zealand, which says, " No freeman shall be..... exiled......but by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land."

Effectively, the children were exiled and the Immigration Service paid for their fares back to Germany into exile.

Despite being made aware of the new evidence before the family was deported, Tuariki Delamere was not interested, closed the matter and was not prepared to enter into any further correspondence.

The Rt Hon Chief Justice, Sian Elias, being also made aware of the full facts, wrote in a letter to me dated 21 July 1999 - " The arguments you raise might perhaps be available on an application for re-hearing."

Great, an opportunity to redress what appears to be a gross miscarriage of justice against the Schier children and their parents.

But they have no money to appeal and although they want to return it is not realistically possible.

>From Petra's letter Mr Schier is apparently working 17 hours a day, travels an hour each way to his job, they live in an apartment with second-hand furniture and two of the three children are having difficulty making friends and adjusting to an unfamiliar country and language.

Mrs Schier writes, " The children hadn't seen their dad in three months, but now lived in a strange place where they couldn't communicate (or were afraid of speaking in case of failing to say the right thing) and without friends and familiar faces."

" Normally Bianca would be in year 3 at school but she would never have coped so I put her in year 2. Therefore, she is an alien in her class. Plus all the other children have known each other from the previous year and so Bianca has a hard time to find a friend. She is shy and has problems to express herself. (kids are cruel to each other) Marina has now made a friend but we did have some problems at first with crying because she did not understand the instructions," Mrs Schier wrote.

The letter is not meant to be a sob-story because there are positives in it as well.

It is, however, a cry for justice.

Contrast this case with the treatment by our court system of the American billionaire who actually imported drugs into this country.

Blackstone said, "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer."

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news