Activist's deportation suspended

Urs Signer
Urs Signer

Urewera four member and Parihaka resident Urs Signer will not be deported from New Zealand if he can stay out of trouble. 

The Swiss born activist, his partner Emily Bailey, Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, were convicted last year for the use and possession of firearms during military-style training camps in the Ureweras that led to a series of controversial police raids in October 2007.

The convinction of Singer and his partner meant there was potential for him to be deported from New Zealand, away from his young son, with Bailey unable to visit him in Switzerland. 

This week Signer, who has just finished his sentence of home detention, received confirmation his deportation notice would be suspended. 

"For us, it means we can finally move on," Signer said.

A spokesperson from Immigration New Zealand said a deportation liability notice and a suspension notice would be served on Signer.  

The suspension conditions included him not being convicted of any criminal charges in the next five years. 

If he was convicted of further charges he would risk being deported, they said.

In October of last year, along with Tuhoe activist Tame Wairere Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, the pair lost their appeal against May convictions and sentences for firearms stemming offences from the Urewera raids.

They returned to Parihaka to serve their nine month sentence of home detention. 

The pair were living in Wellington when the raids took place but have been in Taranaki for the last five years.

His partner Emily Bailey described the latest deportation news as good, but coming "with a catch".

"But after living on a leash like this for so many years and still maintaining our community and political work, we're not so worried now. 

"While Operation 8 may have aimed to terrorise political activists, this whole saga has just made us stronger and more determined" she said. 

Taranaki Daily News