Family want 6-year-old Que Langdon returned to NZ immediately
The mother of six-year-old Que Langdon, who was found in Australia on Wednesday alongside her father, wants New Zealand authorities to order her immediate return home, a spokesman says.
On December 17, Que and her father, Alan Langdon, left Kawhia on a 6-metre yacht.
With a police search and rescue mission starting in New Zealand, the pair went off the radar, until January 11.
In New Zealand, police announced their physical search was over on January 5. They alerted Interpol to the child and father's disappearance.
Then, 25 days after they were last seen, the 6-metre yacht pulled into port at Ulladulla Harbour in western Australia.
Waikato police Detective Sergeant Bill Crowe said police in New Zealand had been liaising with the Ministry of Justice, Immigration and Customs about what potential action could be taken.
Police would have to apply to Australian authorities to have Langdon, who is an Australian citizen, extradited back to New Zealand.
But at this stage the penalties Langdon faces for allegedly breaching the family court conditions did not reach the criteria of extradition, Crowe said.
He was still waiting on reply from the courts for details about Que's passport, which had been surrendered to New Zealand authorities.
"Police are obviously looking at the breach of the family court that Alan has committed in removing Que from New Zealand and speaking to partner agencies in terms of immigration and customs."
"The investigation is still ongoing until we get everything together it's not clear what action we will be taking."
To extradite someone the penalty must carry a minimum sentence of 12 months jail, he said.
Removing a child from New Zealand Under the Care of Children Act carries a maximum penalty of three months jail or a $2500 fine, Crowe said.
"We will weigh up what actions need to be taken and will take it from there."
He said police had advised Que's mother to pursue avenues through the Hague Convention. This included possible civil aspects of child abduction.
"But Alan has had care of Que for some time."
Crowe said he couldn't speculate on what charges Langdon faced in Australia for entering a country without a passport.
MUM 'OVER THE MOON'
Que's mother, Ariane Wyler, hasn't seen or spoken to her daughter for eight months, child recovery specialist Col Chapman said on Wednesday morning.
Chapman was hired to find Que after the yacht failed to arrive at the Bay of Islands, where it was believed they would be spending Christmas.
This was the second time Wyler had hired Chapman to locate her daughter and estranged husband.
After hearing that her daughter had been found, Chapman said Wyler was "thrilled, over the moon, ecstatic, she couldn't be happier".
She wanted Que returned back to New Zealand immediately, he said.
"That is what should happen. New Zealand can insist on Que's immediate return, that would not be a problem," Chapman said.
Que was in Australia illegally, Wyler revealed. The child's passport was being held by a court registrar in New Zealand.
Chapman said his team and Wyler had focused on predicting where Langdon would land in Australia.
Langdon had lived in Australia and Wyler suspected he would return there, he said.
After talking with professional boaties in the area, they established "the red zone" – a 100km stretch where they predicted Langdon would berth. They were correct, Chapman said.
In "the red zone" Chapman's team dropped flyers, talked to boaties and targeted Facebook ad campaigns to get Langdon's face out in the public, he said.
According to Chapman, a member of the public called in to say they'd spotted Langdon.
He questioned why Langdon had carried on the journey with a faulty rudder, after one broke four days into the trip.
"There's the matter of child endangerment," he said.
DAD: 'WE WERE SAFE'
Speaking at Ulladulla Harbour on Wednesday afternoon, Langdon said they were both safe and happy.
"We were always safe, we just couldn't let anyone know," he said.
He said the trip had been difficult with a faulty rudder, but they remained upbeat during the 27-day journey.
"We had plenty of food and saw lots of whales,
"We just have lots to do now," Langdon told reporters, before asking for directions to the nearest phone store.
Police in New Zealand refused to say if any request for Que's return had been placed with Australian authorities.
In a statement on Thursday morning, a spokeswoman said police continued to "assess all the information".