New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and staff. (Photo: Penny Bradfield/Auspic)
28 February 2020
Jo Moir – Radio NZ
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described difficult conversations with Australia as being “gnarly”. Ahead of their formal bilateral at Kirribilli House, Ardern told her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, that their relationship was strong enough to get through those tougher talks.
Relationship ‘being tested’
Ardern began by acknowledging trans-Tasman co-operation – before saying that friendships “must stand up to the test of politics, too. And in the face of politics, the New Zealand – Australia relationship is being tested.”
She said while not every Kiwi migrant to Australia would be perfect, evidence showed that the vast majority were providing a net benefit to Australia. “They earn more, are more likely to be employed and pay more tax than their Aussie born counterparts – they are Australia’s best migrants. But rather than them being given security to keep contributing, in return their rights have been eroded.”
She made a direct statement to Morrison as he stood beside her: “Do not deport your people and your problems.” She was referring to criminals deported from Australia who have no family or long term connections to New Zealand.
Furthermore, she said, those criminals who have brought serious criminal and gang activities to New Zealand shores. She described Australia’s deportation policy as “corrosive” in the two countries’ relationship.
Morrison replied by saying: “The Australian government’s policy is very clear. We deport non-citizens who have committed crime in Australia against our community. This policy is applied not specific to one country, but to any country whose citizens are here.
“That policy is framed in Australia’s national interest, and we would have no objection to any country anywhere who would apply the same rule in terms of Australians who commit crimes in other places.”
Photo: Penny Bradfield/Auspic)
[Read the full Radio NZ article].