Jacinda Arden says genuine Kiwis should be sent back to New Zealand

That’s awkward! Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison’s joint press conference descends into ugly tit-for-tat over deportation of Kiwi criminals as Trans-Tasman relationship hits new low

  • New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern said Kiwis’ rights in Australia are being ‘eroded’
  • Ardern and Morrison had an awkward standoff at a Sydney press conference 
  • ‘Send back genuine Kiwis, don’t deport your people and your problems,’ she said
  • Ms Ardern also called for Kiwis to be able to get assistance from the NDIS  
  • Morrison held firm on his tough stance against non-citizens who commit crimes 
  • She previously said the laws have been ‘corrosive’ for the Aus/Kiwi relationship

Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison had an awkward standoff as the New Zealand Prime Minister argued only genuine Kiwis should be sent back home under tough deportation laws.

Speaking at a press conference in Sydney on Friday, Ms Ardern criticised the Coalition’s deportation laws which send Kiwi criminals back to New Zealand no matter how long they have lived in Australia.

Ms Ardern has always argued that people who have lived in a country for 10 years or more shouldn’t be deported after committing a crime.

The New Zealand prime minister acknowledged the Australian Government is well within its rights to deport people who break our laws, but had ‘one simple request’ for Mr Morrison. 

‘Send back genuine Kiwis, do not deport your people and your problems,’ she told Mr Morrison and reporters during the tense conference.   

Speaking at a press conference in Sydney on Friday, Ms Ardern criticized the Coalition’s deportation laws which send Kiwi criminals back to New Zealand no matter how long they have lived in Australia for

Ms Ardern, who has always argued people who have lived in a country for 10 years or more shouldn’t be deported after committing a crime, looked tense during the media conference 

‘You have deported more than 2,000 individuals, and among them will be genuine Kiwis who do need to learn the consequences of their actions.

‘But among those 2,000 are individuals who are too young to become criminals on our watch, they were too young to become patched gang members, too young to be organised criminals. 

‘We will own our people. We ask that Australia stops exporting theirs.

‘I want to conclude by just reaffirming something I have said often. We will continue to maintain rights for Australians in New Zealand. 

Mr Morrison shot the Kiwi PM an awkward glance, before responding: ‘We deport non-citizens who have committed crimes in Australia.’

‘If you’ve committed a crime and you’re not a citizen of Australia then you have no right to stay.’  

‘We deport non-citizens who have committed crimes in Australia against our community.

‘We have a simple request. Send back genuine Kiwis, do not deport your people and your problems,’ Jacinda Ardern told Mr Morrison and reporters during the tense conference on Friday

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern  and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison  posed for photos during a meeting at Admiralty House on Friday before their awkward press conference standoff 

‘This policy is applied not specific to one country, but to any country whose citizens are here. You commit a crime here, if convicted, once you have done your time, we send you home.

‘And we would have no objection to any country – anywhere – who would apply the same rule in terms of Australian citizens who commit crimes in other places. 

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‘We would think that was totally understandable and we wouldn’t take any offence.’

Mr Morrison said anyone else who ‘doesn’t hold the title of citizen of Australia doesn’t enjoy the rights, entitlements and obligations’ of getting to stay here. 

‘Under my Government’s policies you will not be allowed to remain in Australia,’ he said.

New Zealanders who moved to Australia as toddlers, only to grow up and commit crimes, have been regularly dumped back over the ditch sparking anger from across the Tasman. 

Australia has deported more than 4000 people, including 1500 New Zealanders, since the laws were introduced in 2014.

Ms Ardern hit back, arguing Kiwis who have spent years living in Australia don’t have a life or any foundations to return to when deported back to New Zealand.  

‘The prime minister used a key word in his reference just now – he said that after they have served their time he sends them ‘home’,’ she said.

‘The example I used demonstrates that 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.

Despite the New Zealand prime minister’s best efforts, Mr Morrison held firm in his stance on the policy.  

The tense media conference came hours after Ms Ardern (left) met with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (right) at the New South Wales Parliament House in Sydney

‘Kiwis become citizens. Indians become citizens. Chinese nationals become citizens,’ he said.

‘And when you become a citizen, well, you have joined the club and if you violate our laws at that point, then that is on our watch and Australia has to take care of those situations.

‘But if you’re a non-citizen, our very clear view – and our government is well-known for our clear views when it comes to issues of immigration and border security – if you have committed a crime and you’re not a citizen of Australia, then you have no right to stay.’

AUSTRALIA’S TOUGH DEPORTATION LAWS

Under Section 501 of the Migration Act, a foreigner in Australia can have their visa cancelled on character grounds if they have been jailed for 12 months or longer.

Then there is Section 116 of the same law which gives the Immigration Minister the power to have someone deported if they are regarded as a threat to public safety.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton previously had this power but that responsibility now lies with Immigration Minister David Coleman.

Earlier this month, the High Court ruled in a four-to-three majority verdict that indigenous Australians could not be deported.

New Zealand-born Brendan Thoms, 31, who had lived in Australia since 1994, successfully challenged his deportation for a series of violent crimes committed in Queensland.

He is a descendant of the Gunggari people through his maternal grandmother.

Ms Ardern then took the opportunity to criticise Kiwis’ rights in Australia. 

‘Not every Kiwi migrant will be perfect, but evidence shows that the vast majority are providing a net benefit to Australia,’ she said. 

‘They earn more, they are more likely to get employed and they pay more tax than their Aussie-born counterparts.  

‘They are Australia’s best migrants … But rather than them being given security for them to keep contributing but in return, their rights are being eroded,’ she said.

‘Simple rights like assistance from the National Disability Insurance Scheme, even though they pay into the scheme’s levy.’  

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian met Ms Ardern on Friday morning at NSW Parliament House, on the second day of the NZ Prime Minister’s trip to Australia

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