NZ PM urges Australia to stop deporting ‘your people and your problems’
CANBERRA: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accused her Australian counterpart of testing the relationship between the nations with “unfair” deportation policies.
During a visit to Australia on Friday, Jacinda Ardern called on Scott Morrison to give migrants from New Zealand to Australia more rights.
Under laws introduced in 2014 the Australian government has the right to deport any foreigners sentenced to 12 months or more in jail regardless of how long they have been in Australia.
More than 1,600 citizens of New Zealand have been removed from Australia since the laws were introduced, many of whom had lived in Australia for most of their lives.
“Not every Kiwi migrant will be perfect. But evidence shows that the vast majority are providing a net benefit to Australia. They earn more, they are more likely to be employed, and they pay more tax than their Aussie-born counterparts. They are Australia’s best migrants,” Ardern said.
“But rather than them being given security to keep contributing and return, their rights are being eroded.”
“Australia is well within its rights to deport individuals who break your laws. New Zealand does the same.”
“But we have a simple request - send back Kiwis. Genuine Kiwis. Do not deport your people and your problems.” Ardern’s comments came ahead of a general election in New Zealand in September where Australia’s treatment of migrants is expected to be a key issue. In response, Morrison declared that his government would not abandon the policy.
“The Australian government’s policy is very clear. We deport non-citizens who have committed crimes in Australia against our community. This policy is applied not specific to one country, but to any country whose citizens are here,” he said.
“You commit a crime here, if convicted, once you have done your time, we send you home.” - Xinhua