Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

Barry Soper: New Zealand and Australia big unhappy family

The first formal annual get together of our respective Prime Ministers was a fail on several fronts.

For our part we missed a golden opportunity and for their part their declaration of love for this country and its people were hollow words.

The golden opportunity centred on the venue for the meeting, the picturesque, resort playground of Queenstown.

More than a dozen Aussie journalists with their cameras were there to record the event. The meeting was held at the new, ritzy, lakeside Hilton shadowed by the stunning Remarkable mountain range.

Bill English and Malcolm Turnbull's press conference was held in a blacked out room, with undistinguishable flags behind them, ignoring the natural beauty of the town outside.

Surely if we wanted to make a lasting impression, selling our booming tourism potential, we could have ferried the lot of them up the gondola to the Skyline, perched on a clifftop overlooking the beauty.

And while they were at it, what about a Trans Tasman leaders' race down the nearby luge that would give the cameras something to skite about and our tourism operators something to crow about?

The words of the Aussie Prime Minister at an impromptu chat to journalists at the beginning of the day were effusive.

"Our nations are so close, we're the closest of family and the ANZAC tradition of mateship, solidarity and selflessness is part of our DNA."

A few hours later Malcolm Turnbull uttered virtually the same epithet, so much for being a sincere, off the cuff comment.

In fact in reality we are a dysfunctional family where the Aussies call the shots and we take the bullets like their deportation of Kiwi criminals back to this country even though many of them have lived there virtually since birth. And their treatment of taxpaying kiwis living there but being denied certain welfare and health care is hardly a level playing field.

The best Bill English could so was to tell Turnbull we didn't like deportation of the crims and getting an assurance that costly appeals against it were becoming more successful. If that's the case then why not revisit the policy?

Perhaps it's time we treated Australians in this country the way they treat us there, showing us for what we really are, one big unhappy family.

- Newstalk ZB

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Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

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