Facing death in Tonga, man with kidney failure ordered to leave New Zealand

'Ikai tali e tangi 'a Sōsefo Lakalaka pe 'oku toe 'iloa ko Siliva Lakalaka ke 'oua 'e fakafoki ia ki Tonga mo hono foha ta'u 12. 'Oku lolotonga faito'o foki 'a e toko taha' ni 'i Nu'u Sila' ni ko e mahaki'ia hono kofuua' pea neongo 'a e pehē 'e he'ene toketā sipesialisi' 'e holo ke kovi ange e tu'unga mo'ui lelei 'a Lakalaka ha'ane foki Tonga he 'oku 'ikai lava ha faito'o pehē ia ai ka ne pehē 'e he tulaipiunolo' 'e 'ikai hoko ha fu'u fakamamahi fakavalevale ia ai. Kuo lahi foki e kakai Tonga nofo ta'efakalao 'i Nu'u Sila' ni pea fekau ke foki. Ka ne nau tangi tuunga 'i ha mahaki'ia 'a honau kofuua' pea iku 'o tali koe'uhī pe he 'oku 'ikai lava ke fakahoko 'a e faito'o ko 'eni' 'i Tonga. Ka kuo tu'utu'uni e Tulaipiunolo' ke 'oange ha'ane visa ngāue māhina 'e ono lau mei Nōvema 2018 ke teuteu ai 'ene mavahe mo hono foha' mei Nu'u Sila'.

The New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal has ordered a Tongan man with kidney failure to be deported to the kingdom.

Treatment for kidney failure which mostly led to dialysis treatment is not available in Tonga.

53-year-old Sōsefo Lakalaka who is also known as Siliva Lakalaka, along with his 12-year-old son were ordered to leave New Zealand no later than May 2019.

Sōsefo was being treated for end-stage kidney failure secondary to polycystic kidney disease. 

He had a successful kidney transplant in September 2009 but the kidney has developed progressive structural damage which means its function has reduced over time. He now has stage four kidney disease and requires regular supervision from a renal physician in New Zealand.  

The extent to which this could be managed from Tonga, with changes to medication being facilitated through a blood-testing regime, is uncertain, the Tirbunal said. 

Sōsefo has been given a six months’ working visa before leaving New Zealand.

He had appealed against a deportation order. Included in the appeal was his 12-year-old son.

Sōsefo made brief visits to New Zealand in past years.

He has been in New Zealand since May 2006 apart from a brief visit to Tonga in 2013. 

He was unlawfully in this country from 2007 until he was granted a limited purpose visa in August 2009. 

This was extended several times until 28 October 2011. 

After a brief period of being unlawfully in New Zealand again, Sōsefo was granted a series of limited visas to receive medical treatment over a two-year period until 17 November 2013. 

His subsequent attempts to be granted a temporary visa were unsuccessful.

His 12-year-old son, was living with him and attending school in New Zealand. 

Sōsefo and his wife have five children whom they have raised by customary adoption.  At the present time, the appellant’s wife, two daughters and a son remain in Tonga. 

In its report on the decision, the tribunal said it accepted that the appellant required a continuation of the treatment he has been receiving in New Zealand for his kidney disease. 

“Without this treatment, which is presently well-controlled, his health will deteriorate. The appellant’s renal physician has indicated that with treatment it may be some years before he requires dialysis.” 

It also said that “although the appellant does have exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature in terms of the statutory test that would make it unjust or unduly harsh for the appellant to be deported from New Zealand, the Tribunal is not satisfied that it would not, in all the circumstances, be contrary to the public interest to allow the appellant to remain in New Zealand.”

“After weighing the positive public interest considerations, including alleviating the family’s anxiety regarding the threat of the appellant’s immediate deportation, against the significant cost of his ongoing treatment in New Zealand, the Tribunal finds that it is not satisfied that it would not be contrary to the public interest for the appellant to remain in New Zealand.”

It also said the appellant’s son does not have exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature. 

“An appeal must fail if there are no exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature,” the Tribunal said.

The Immigration New Zealand records said that the appellant’s kidney transplant has been funded but he remains liable for the ongoing monitoring costs of about $20,000 annually, according to the Tribunal.

Sōsefo currently has a debt of $15,958.20 (as at 1 August 2018), and has arranged regular repayments of $20 commencing on 7 August 2018.

The Tribunal ruled that the appellant and his son’s appeal against an existing deportation order should be declined.

The Tribunal ordered a grant of a work visa for six months for Sōsefo only, commencing on the date of this decision. 

The work visa will enable him and his family in Tonga and New Zealand to make the necessary arrangements for his departure from this country.

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