19 Jul 2019

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton dismisses Jacinda Ardern's demands to stop deporting New Zealanders

5:37 pm on 19 July 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has emerged from talks with her Australian counterpart in Melbourne with nothing solid to show for it.

Scott Morrison, Jacinda Ardern, Jenny Morrison and Clarke Gayford.

Scott Morrison, Jacinda Ardern, Jenny Morrison and Clarke Gayford. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

She had promised to raise Australia's deportation policy when she sat down with Scott Morrison, calling it "corrosive".

But Australia is not backing down.

"New Zealanders look at this policy and just think, 'That's not fair dinkum,' " Ms Ardern said.

"The issue ultimately for them is that they are within their rights to undertake this policy.

"I don't think two wrongs make a right. So we'll just continue to advocate and make this point."

The Prime Minister was due to reutrn to New Zeland this evening, but has been delayed after the Air Force's Boenig 757 broke down.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, speaking ahead of the meeting, warned the policy would not be changed.

Successive New Zealand governments have raised concern with the policy, after more than 1500 Kiwi criminals were deported since the rules were tightened in 2014.

"There are a number of areas where it will be completely legitimate for a New Zealand citizen to be deported back to New Zealand if they engage in criminal activity," she said prior to the meeting.

"But we have seen cases where there is also almost no connection of an individual to New Zealand who had been deported.

"I consider that to be a corrosive part of that policy, and it's having a corrosive effect on our relationship."

Examples often used are New Zealanders who moved to Australia as children, with limited to no family ties back across the Tasman.

"We need to stand up for Australians," Mr Dutton told Channel Nine.

"And the New Zealand prime minister is rightly doing that for her people.

"But where we've got Australian citizens who are falling victim in certain circumstances where people are sexually offending against children, for example, we've had a big push to try to deport those paedophiles."

The meeting between Ms Ardern and Mr Morrison also covered soldier's deployment in Iraq and China's influence in the Pacific.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand and Australia both been consistently concerned about the United States showing a declining interest in the Pacific.

In a speech in Washington late last year the Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, called on the US to do more when it comes to providing aid to the Pacific.

In Melbourne, following a meeting with her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, Jacinda Ardern told media the two countries remain of the same view.

Detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru

Another policy area where the Australian Government is unlikely to shift is New Zealand's ongoing offer to resettle refugees housed in offshore detention on Manus Island and Nauru.

Canberra has repeatedly knocked back the offer, suggesting it could provide asylum seekers with a "back door" into Australia, given the more immigration regime between the two nations.

However, there is a sense among some in the government the offer may be accepted once the existing resettlement deal with the United States is exhausted.

That agreement, made by Malcolm Turnbull and Barack Obama, angered Donald Trump.

But US authorities have accepted some refugees under the arrangement.


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