Jacinda Ardern's blunt message to Scott Morrison about Australia's deportation policy - as the pair stood side by side - has drawn admiration, ire and headlines across both countries.

Ardern did not mince her words in Sydney, directly criticising Morrison over his Government's policies.

"New Zealand and Australia's relationship is being tested," Ardern said at a joint press conference with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.

Ardern and Australian Prime Minster, Scott Morrison speak to media. Photo / Getty Images
Ardern and Australian Prime Minster, Scott Morrison speak to media. Photo / Getty Images

Ardern criticised the way Kiwis were treated by the Australian Government as well as Morrison's deportation policy.


In a controversial move, thousands of Kiwi migrants without Australian citizenship have been deported from the country after committing serious crimes, even though some have limited links to their country of birth.

"We have a simple request," Ardern said, "send back Kiwis, genuine Kiwis - do not deport your people and your problems."

She closed by saying: "We will own our people. We ask that Australia stop exporting theirs."

Australian media outlets were quick to highlight the confrontational quality of Ardern's comments.

The Guardian ran the headline: "Jacinda Ardern lashes Scott Morrison for 'testing' friendship over deportations to New Zealand". Business Insider Australia reported that the Kiwi PM had given Australia's deportation policy "a serve".

The Australian called the comments "a stunning attack" under the banner "Do not deport your people and your problems: Jacinda Ardern goes head-to-head with Scott Morrison".

News.com.au said Ardern had "slammed" her Australian counterpart reporting, "New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern issued a blunt message to Australia this afternoon – while Scott Morrison stood right next to her."

The press conference was even compared to a famous scene from the film Love Actually when Hugh Grant's British PM character blasts his American rival - played by Billy Bob Thornton - at a press conference.


"Jacinda Ardern" rapidly became a trending term on Twitter after the comments.

"Watching PM reax as someone roasts him [in] person let alone a woman is glorious you so rarely see it this video is hilarious," Samantha Maiden tweeted.

Another said: "How proud would you be to be an NZer after hearing your PM say that? Wow that's fabulous advocacy."

Others saw the funny side of the PM's speech, saying: "Jacinda Ardern is sure to be deported after that murder we all witnessed."

"Can someone please Prime Minister-nap Jacinda Ardern while she's here. I can't remember what having a real leader feels like," Sam Arman tweeted.

Others weren't as complimentary of the speech.

Rose Taylor posted on Twitter: "mind your own business and concentrate on NZ laws".

While Viesha Lewand tweeted: "People who come here from overseas should always be deported if they perform criminal acts here."

Another said: "How dare you tell us what to do."