NZ PM to raise deported Kiwi criminals

PM to raise deportations
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern will discuss the deportation of Kiwi criminals with Malcolm Turnbull. (Photo: AAP)

1 March 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will raise New Zealand’s concerns about Australia’s deportation policy when she meets Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Friday.

The fate of Kiwi convicted criminals deported from Australia will be on the agenda when Jacinda Ardern and Malcolm Turnbull hold bilateral talks.

The New Zealand prime minister was arriving in Sydney on Thursday night accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, seven cabinet ministers and a business delegation.

Ms Ardern and Mr Turnbull will have a bilateral meeting in Sydney on Friday and will participate in an Australia-NZ leadership forum.

As of late January there were 170 New Zealanders, including 17 women, in Australian immigration detention whose visas were automatically revoked following a December 2014 crackdown on foreign-born convicted criminals.

Foreigners who have served more than 12 months in Australian jails have been steadily rounded up for deportation.

However, some New Zealanders who grew up in Australia and have weak ties across the ditch have appealed their deportations.

Ms Ardern acknowledged Australia’s legal rights to toughen up visa rules but flagged she’ll be putting a moral case to Mr Turnbull during their meeting.

A New Zealand parliamentary committee last week was told 1023 deportees had been sent back in the last two years and 44 per cent of them had reoffended.

“No one would argue that bringing someone back to New Zealand who has never stepped foot in this country lends itself to an easy process of reintegration and rehabilitation,” Ms Ardern told reporters in Wellington on Thursday, adding there were questions over the policy’s fairness.

“It leaves us with a very tough job and I’ll continue to raise it.”

New Zealand’s opposition leader Simon Bridges is also coming to Sydney for the leadership forum.

Mr Bridges said ties between the two countries had taken a bit of a “bruising” after Ms Ardern, late last year, reaffirmed NZ’s offer to resettle 150 refugees Australia sent to Manus Island.

The proposal was initially made by the Key government in 2013.

The Abbott and Turnbull governments have consistently rejected the offer based on concerns refugees could use New Zealand as a “back door” to get across the Tasman.

Mr Turnbull and Ms Ardern are more likely to find common ground on efforts to boost business and investment ties.

Mr Turnbull said he and wife Lucy were looking forward to welcoming Ms Ardern and her partner, fishing show host Clarke Gayford.

[Read the SBS article].

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