Scott Morrison checks the stars on the Australian flag while meeting with Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand. (AAP)
22 February 2019
While she and Scott Morrison preached a family bond, economic ties and unity in the Pacific, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said deporting Kiwis from Australia is “corrosive” to the trans-Tasman relationship.
Standing next to Mr Morrison in Auckland during his first visit as PM, Ms Ardern on Friday described friendly and productive talks before launching into the contentious issue. “In my view this issue has become corrosive in our relationship,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, standing next to Morrison on Friday after their first annual trans-Tasman meeting.
“Australia is family in every sense of the word … in any family it’s inevitable we will see things differently.” Kiwis understood the need to deport criminals, Ms Ardern continued, but not those who had lived their lives in Australia. “I’m sure it is a matter we will continue to discuss,” she said.
Mr Morrison defended the policy as a hallmark of his government, and as one not targeted at Kiwis specifically. “Our government has taken a very strong line when it comes to those who are in Australia who are on visas,” he said.
“Visas are not citizenship. Visas are provided on the basis of people being compliant with those visas, and that doesn’t include committing crimes.” He said his government will always listen and work through individual cases sensitively.
He opened his statement on Friday with the Maori greeting “kia ora” and later described the traditional welcome, or powhiri, he received on Government House’s rain-soaked lawn in the morning as “very moving”. Mr Morrison also acknowledged Friday was the eight anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake that killed 185 people.
[Read the full 9 News article].