New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had strong words for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a joint news conference on Friday, lashing out his country's policy of deporting criminal Kiwis back to their homeland for her to deal with.
But Morrison was unapologetic, saying Australia's policy would not change and telling Ardern that his country's "very clear view" is that "if you have committed a crime and you're not a citizen of Australia, then you have no right to stay."
What are the details?
Australian publication Stuff reported that during a joint news conference on the shores of Sydney Harbor, Ardern lashed out publicly at Morrison, saying that while she understands why Australia holds its policy, the country is shipping back New Zealand-born citizens who have spent so long in Australia that they should be considered Australia's problem.
"I'm not asking that Australia stops the policy," Arden said, according to the Guardian. "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 become criminals," she continued. "We will own our people. We ask that Australia stops exporting theirs."
Ardern added, "We have a simple request: send back Kiwis. Genuine Kiwis. Do not deport your people and your problems."
No deal, said Morrison.
The Australian prime minister answered, "The Australian government's policy is very clear. We deport noncitizens who have committed crimes in Australia against our community."
Morrison explained that his country's policy applies to every criminal alien, not just those born in New Zealand, saying, "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."
The Australian prime minister continued, "Kiwis become citizens. Indians become citizens. Chinese nationals become citizens. 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 noncitizen," Morrison said, "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."