Mosque killer 'unlikely' to be sent back to Australia: PM

Photo: File
Photo: File
The Christchurch mosque killer is unlikely to be returned to his homeland of Australia, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

She told Sky News today that while talks aren't yet over, "early suggestions are that [victims'] families wish to see that sentence served here".

The 29-year-old Australian mass murderer was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole - the first time in New Zealand's history the sentence has been imposed – in August.

Since his sentencing, it's been hotly-debated over whether the shooter could ever conceivably be deported back to his native Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has called for the "depraved" March 15, 2019 mosque gunman, who killed 51 people, to be extradited to avoid New Zealand paying to keep him locked up for life.

Peters said it was time "for Australia's Minister of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, to receive and carry out the terrorist's sentence in Australia".

But Justice Minister Andrew Little has previously said a new law would have to be passed to deport him.

"It's automatic if you're a non-citizen or non-resident. Any other way would have to be by agreement of treaty with the country of origin, and we don't have that with Australia," Little said just after the gunman's sentencing.

"Our Corrections system is now obliged to detain him for life."

National leader Judith Collins was wary of deporting the gunman, partly because Australians seemed keen to deport Kiwis who were midway through their sentence.

"That would mean New Zealand would either have a whole lot of criminals who have not served their sentences wandering around the communities, or else we'd have to find jail space for them," Collins said earlier.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has left the door open to working with New Zealand on the issue.

If he was shipped back to Australia, the most likely prison to take him would be Goulburn Supermax in regional New South Wales.


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