Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has again strongly criticised the Australian policy of deporting Kiwis with few ties to New Zealand, calling some cases "indefensible".
Following on from her public comments last week after her meeting in Auckland with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in which she said the policy was having a corrosive effect on the transtasman relationship, Ardern said today that fair-minded Australians and New Zealanders would think the policy was wrong.
"They [Australia] are perfectly within their rights to take a dim view of anyone who goes over to Australia , commits crimes and then Australia chooses to send them back from where they came," Ardern told Newstalk ZB this morning.
"We actually have the same ability but they, however, have taken it a step further. The point that we have made is actually in those cases where, in any fair-minded person's judgment, that person is for all intents and purposes an Aussie," Ardern said.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"We've got cases where someone's been in Australia since they were six months old, had no connection to New Zealand at all. It's those cases I consider indefensible," she said.
"There have been examples where they've never set foot in New Zealand, haven't even visited the place."
By and large, New Zealanders in Australia punched above their weight in terms of their contribution to the tax system and to the country. "But we have a few cases, and this is why I say it's corrosive, there's these little examples where I think probably fair-minded Australians and New Zealanders will just say 'that doesn't seem right'," she said.
Morrison did not give any hint last week that Australia would be changing its laws as a result of Ardern's concerns.
Ardern's words echo those of Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who made the same comments following a meeting with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne on Waiheke Island earlier this month.
He called the policy illogical, unfair, and in some cases indefensible.