Butler Decision

  • Max Bradford

Immigration Minister Max Bradford has declined to intervene on behalf of the family of Daniel Martin Butler who sought to stay in New Zealand on humanitarian grounds.

Mr Bradford said he had given the case much consideration, but after weighing everything up he did not believe Mr Butler or his family should be allowed to remain in New Zealand.

"Mr Butler is not a refugee. He is a fugitive from justice in the United Kingdom."

Mr Bradford said the Refugee Status Appeal Authority in New Zealand had found Mr Butler can safely relocate in parts of the United Kingdom such as England, Scotland or Wales - or indeed anywhere in Europe as a citizen of the European Union.

"Nothing I have received leads me to override the RSAA decision in that regard. As a United Kingdom citizen and a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, it is the responsibility of those two governments to give him the protection he seeks to obtain in New Zealand."

Mr Bradford said Mr Butler's presence in New Zealand owed much to his deliberate concealment of his criminal record when he entered New Zealand in 1991.

"Indeed then, as now, he was avoiding an 18 month prison term."

Mr Bradford noted that Mr Butler and his family had unsuccessfully used various legal processes in their attempts to stay in New Zealand and did not meet any of the normal criteria for remaining in the country.

"An offer has been made to Mrs Butler and her children to accompany Mr Butler at the expense of the New Zealand Government if she wishes. Alternatively she may travel at a later date on the same basis after winding up the family affairs here," Mr Bradford said.

"I recognise this is a very emotional time for the Butler family and I have made arrangements for appropriate support to be given to them at this time."

Bernadette Daley, with whom Mr Butler arrived in 1991, has a pending High Court appeal against removal. Like Mrs Butler, she and her children have the opportunity to depart from New Zealand with Mr Butler.

"This case is a vexed one. It has involved detailed Refugee Status Appeal Authority consideration, as well as High Court and Court of Appeal cases, before I was asked to make a final determination. The UNHCR has confirmed that Mr Butler is not a refugee in terms of United Nations criteria. Mr Butler has failed to convince the authorities at every step," Mr Bradford said.