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New Zealand PM Ardern says Australia's deportation policy is 'corrosive'

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New Zealand PM Ardern says Australia's deportation policy is 'corrosive'

By Colin Packham



New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hold a joint press conference at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's deportation policy is so "corrosive" that it has soured its bilateral relationship with New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday, a rare bust-up between the two historic allies.


Australia's conservative government has in recent months moved to deport thousands of foreigners convicted of crimes as part of an immigration crackdown that can also strip dual-nationals of their Australian citizenship.


The move has seen hundreds of people deported to New Zealand, a country that some left when just children and have few ties to.


"We have countless who have no home in New Zealand, they have no network, they have grown up in Australia. That is their home. And that is where they should stay," Ardern told reporters in Sydney during a media conference alongside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.


"Do not deport your people and your problems."


The two countries have fought in numerous conflicts alongside each other, and squabbles between the two rarely break-out beyond playful, light-hearted banter over sport and culture.


Roughly 650,000 New Zealand citizens - more than a tenth of the smaller country’s population - live in Australia.

Morrison, however, was unapologetic and promised no change in Australian policy.


"If you have committed a crime and you're not a citizen of Australia, then you have no right to stay," Morrison told the same media conference.


The disagreement comes as Ardern faces a tight race to keep her premiership when New Zealanders return to the polls on Sep 19.


Ardern is hugely popular among liberal voters globally thanks to her compassionate but decisive response to a mass shooting, her focus on climate change action and multilateralism, and her ability to combine motherhood and leadership.


But at home, slow economic growth and low business confidence, a failed state housing project and scandals sees her centre-left Labour trailing the conservative National Party.


"The election is on the knife edge. The issue is extremely sensitive back home, so giving Australia a kick in the ribs can't hurt at all," said Peter Chen, a political science professor at University of Sydney.


(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-29
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37 minutes ago, DoctorG said:

Doubt she will still be PM after Sept.

Just read an article about her on another website, and the way it looks

she is in trouble at home and will be lucky to get reelected.

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Never met a Kiwi I didn't like (obviously not a large enough subset 555) but bottom line, if you are a serial offender or committed a serious crime and are not an Aussie citizen I see no issue with kicking them out IMO.


As for Ardern, I may not see eye-to-eye with her politics but I wish she was an Aussie.

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4 minutes ago, Old Croc said:

OK, conceded, it's easier for Australians to get PR, and you did specify that in the quoted text, but I was talking about criteria for citizenship. 

Sorry, disagree with what you call a myth. Kiwis do have a lower unemployment rate now, but again I was was taking about a point in the past when they could step off the plane and be eligible for unemployment benefits. Bondi was an infamous Kiwi hangout in those days. Affordable rental accommodation near the beach made it very popular.

Look I don’t deny that there were bludgers, but all that was needed was to put in waiting times for access to benefits. Instead, they (we) restricted access to citizenship. 

It may not sound like much, but give we are 20 years into it, lots of kiwis who have lived and worked in Australia for that duration when they fall on hard times find themselves out in the cold despite paying taxes. There’s a huge list, but things like access to the NDIS, disaster relief, access to shelters for domestic abuse victims, in some cases university education. The list goes on. All Australia has to do is create a straight forward path the PR for these people, but it simply doesn’t exist under the system we have. 

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