Venkat Raman in Sydney
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to budge on the issue of deportation of New Zealanders convicted of offences – an issue that continues to be a thorn in the flesh between the two countries which otherwise enjoys close economic and social relationship.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in Sydney on the last leg of her five day overseas trip which took her and her official and media delegation to Fiji as well, which is reported separately with pictures.
“Australia is a sovereign nation and we have the rights to protect our borders. Our policy is clear. We deport non-citizens who have committed crimes in Australia against our community. This policy applied not specific to one country, but to any country, anywhere, who would apply the same rule in terms of Australian citizens who commit crimes in other places. We would think that was totally understandable and we would not take any offence,” he said.
But Ms Ardern lashed out at Mr Morrison saying, “Send back Kiwis – genuine Kiwis- do not deport your people, and your problems,” she said.
Ms Ardern said that Australia is well within its rights to deport individuals who break the local laws.
“New Zealand does the same. But we have a simple request. I have heard countless cases of individuals who, on any common-sense test, identify as Australians,” she said.
Ms Ardern said that she was not asking Australia to stop this policy.
“You have deported more than 2000 individuals and amongst them will be genuine Kiwis, who do have to learn the consequences of their actions. But amongst those 2000 are individuals who were too young to become criminals on our watch. They were too young to become patched gang members. Too young to be organised criminals. We will own our people. We ask that Australia stop exporting theirs,” she said.
Also read our story, “Mutual help brings Aussie and Kiwis together, but..” on Page 3.
Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison addressing the Media in Sydney on February 28, 2020 (PMC Media Photo)