A deported father who had a "close relationship" with his children, but abused his partner, has lost his battle to re-enter New Zealand.
Alavine Feliuia Liu, a Samoan citizen, was deported on April 18, 2012 on leaving Christchurch Men's Prison.
He was serving time for offences of violence against his partner.
A High Court judge ordered an immigration officer to reconsider the decision to deport Liu under articles 9 and 10 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Article 9 states a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will except when it is necessary for the best interests of the child.
Article 10 deals with family reunification, and the right of a child to have regular contact with parents who live in different countries.
This was successfully contested by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in the Court of Appeal.
In the decision released today, the Court of Appeal cancelled the High Court's order that the immigration officer must reconsider the deportation.
Liu had entered New Zealand on a visitor's permit in 2006, followed by his wife and two children. A third child was later born.
The couple separated in 2008 after Liu's wife obtained a protection order against him and said he used violence against her throughout the marriage.
His wife and children eventually returned to Samoa.
During that time, Liu started living with another woman and her child from a previous relationship, both New Zealand citizens. They had a son in 2009.
Immigration had granted Liu a series of work permits allowing him to remain in New Zealand because of this relationship.
According to the judgement, there was evidence Liu had a "close relationship" with the children, but he assaulted his new partner on a number of occasions.
He was sentenced to six months imprisonment after he breached a protection order and a sentence of community work.
His last work permit expired on June 17, 2011.
The immigration officer said he had interviewed Liu's partner who "strongly opposed deportation, citing the interests of the children".
She indicated she would resume her relationship with Liu if he undertook treatment for alcohol abuse.
In relation to article 9, the Court of Appeal judges said public interest considerations may justify a parent's deportation even if it resulted in separation from a child.
"In such cases one would expect the child's interests to be primary but not paramount consideration," they said in the decision.
The judges said article 10 was not relevant to this case.
They ruled the immigration officer did not err in law by failing to take into account the articles, and did not have to reconsider the deportation order.
- © Fairfax NZ News