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Peter Dunne says Australia has now roughly and cleverly boxed the Prime Minister into a corner on the deportation issue

Peter Dunne says Australia has now roughly and cleverly boxed the Prime Minister into a corner on the deportation issue
Jacinda Ardern, by Jacky Carpenter.

By Peter Dunne*

Australia’s latest announcement that it intends to toughen its already strict deportation rules, with their likely impact on New Zealanders, is a slap in the face for the diplomacy of the Prime Minister.

Remember that barely two weeks ago the Prime Minister was repeating her assertion to her Australian counterpart that the current policy was discriminatory and a “corrosive” factor in the ongoing relationship between the two countries. Australia’s response was not just to ignore completely her representations, but, now, to also rub salt in the wounds by the latest announcement. In the meantime, various Australian journalists, far less in the Prime Minister’s thrall than their New Zealand counterparts, have been vocal in their cynicism and criticism of the New Zealand position.

All of which leaves New Zealand in a very difficult position. No matter how obnoxious we may feel the Australian policy is – and successive governments since it was introduced in the time of Helen Clark have been vocal in their opposition – Australia has not only snubbed its nose at New Zealand’s protestations, but has now felt sufficiently emboldened to go even further. Successive Prime Ministers have ruled out New Zealand stooping to Australia’s level in retaliation which, although admirable in its own right, has effectively left us with nowhere to go but acquiescence. The more we protest, the deafer Australia seems to become, so more of the same from our part is not going to change anything.

Australia has now roughly and cleverly boxed the Prime Minister into a corner. It has created the perception of a nice, well meaning but ineffectual Prime Minister “concerned” about the treatment of New Zealanders in Australia and refugees on Manus Island versus the pragmatic, realistic Australian leader determined to keep Australia’s borders secure by either deporting undesirables to their country of origin or not letting them in in the first place . New Zealand’s moral outrage is all very well, but starts to lose its impact if it cannot deliver the desired change. This is the dilemma our Prime Minister now has to contemplate.

It is a pity the Prime Minister was in the Tokelaus on a long-scheduled visit when this latest announcement broke, but that does not prove Simon Bridge’s erroneous claim that she is a part-time Prime Minister. However, it does give some substance to his point that she seems far more comfortable in the international limelight than dealing with the immediate problems confronting New Zealand as a country.

If the New Zealand news media in general was far less in awe of the Prime Minister and seemingly unwilling to make life too difficult for her they would be starting to ask some tough questions by now.

For example, what advice has the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra been passing to the Government? Surely it would have been picking up strong messages from the Australian Government over a period of time on its attitude and future intentions on deportations and passing these back to Wellington to better inform our responses? What advice were officials in Wellington preparing for the government on the developing situation, Australia’s increasingly entrenched position, and options for possible diplomatic responses? If the advice was that Australia was increasingly unlikely to budge, what was the rationale behind having the Prime Minister continuing to ride a high moral horse that was not going anywhere? Or was that her decision, contrary to any official advice?

While most New Zealanders will support the Prime Minister’s ongoing concerns, equally most New Zealanders will not like being made a fool of by Australia’s latest decisions. They will be keen to know whether we do have some sort of long-term end game in mind, and that this is merely an unfortunate hiccup on the way, or whether our Prime Minister has simply been comprehensively outplayed by the Australian Prime Minister and his colleagues on the issue. They will want to know whether the one-upmanship of the sports field for so many years has now become the way the political relationship between our two countries will henceforth be conducted.

Above all, they will be looking to the New Zealand news media to start to treat the Prime Minister seriously on these and other issues by asking the tough questions they have shied away from for too long.  She is articulate and able, and deserves to be held to account as such, rather than just continuing to be demeaned by being portrayed as little more than a smiling face on a magazine cover.    

*Peter Dunne is the former leader of UnitedFuture, an ex-Labour Party MP, and a former cabinet minister. This article first ran here and is used with permission.

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Let's be honest, she was humiliated. She was particularly exposed in an interview with Lisa Wilkinson where she stuttered and appeared vague on the deportation issue. Instead of defending New Zealanders who commit crime in Australia and are rightly deported, she should have been pushing the cause of the many Kiwi's living there and making a positive contribution - voting and education for example.

Yet some of these "NZers" have lived much of, if not effectively been brought up in OZ since early childhood. So arguably the cause of their mis-behaviour could be blamed on OZ and not NZ.

I agree there is a small cohort who arguably were socialised in Australia. However that's just tough, if you're stupid enough to commit crime (and we're not talking parking tickets) while at risk of deportation, that's on the individual. Ardern had the political capital/profile to genuinely improve the entitlements of lawful Kiwi's in Australia and totally botched it.

I would not be surprised at all if a bunch of you same folk were using words such as "pragmatic" and "astute" to describe when John Key proved incapable of confronting Australia to get a better deal for New Zealanders.

WTF are you talking about? I actually have a very low opinion of Key however he (or English) did win a meaningful concession for Kiwi's in Australia whereby if they arrived pre-2016, and had paid X amount in tax, they were eligible to be fast-tracked for PR.

My apologies if the shoe doesn't fit you. I'm talking about how many here have not just rose-tinted tines but a veritable monocle when it comes to Key vs. Ardern. Key on this issue was seen disparaging others for daring to ask for criminals to be kept out of NZ.

Even on NBR right-leaning commenters were pretty apt to describe Key as "he came, he saw, he dithered, he left".

That is NO excuse for that behavior, New Zealanders MUST learn to behave themselves in other countries, if you misbehave in somebody house, you have to GET OUT


Time for full reciprocity. Time to treat Aussie citizens here as Kiwis are treated there. That means put an end to the free benefits here for Aussie citizens/Aussie PR holders living here. Is the Government bold enough to take this step ?

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. NZ (mostly) benefits from Aussies come here to live. Do we actually want to make them feel less welcome here?

Do you think Kiwis are welcomed with open arms and showered with benefits in Australia ?

It's not terrible in Aus for NZers, we are treated a little unfairly with regard to being denied welfare and not being able to become citizens as easily as they can here even though we pay same tax as they do when in Aus. What I am saying is that even if Aus plays such games, we are probably better off not copying their dickish excesses - improves our reputation amongst Australians as a good country at little cost.

It will require a completely new breed of Aussie politicians to see the good in NZers. Not gonna happen in the near future, however does NZ accommodate and bow low. Aussies are takers and we are still giving away more than we should.

You're missing their point. Repeatedly. It doesn't matter if Aussie politicians "see the good in NZers." It doesn't matter if we "accommodate and bow low." This isn't a playground, it's not about face. We should enact the policy that works best for New Zealand, and that's being welcoming to Australians.

If Australians want to shoot themselves in the foot by not being welcoming to New Zealanders, frankly, they're just making New Zealand better off and Australia worse off.

I get the point.
'New Zealand should enact/continue with policies to give more to Aussies to make them feel them welcome (to benefit the people living in NZ), while Australia can continue taking away more benefits for the New Zealanders living/going there and treat them like second class. NZers can feel happy that they are morally better off than the Aussies'.
Sweet as...

NZ can't throw its weight around when it has no cards to play. Peters and Ardern are trying that with the US to similar effect.


Sovereign countries like NZ always have cards to play with. The big four Aussie banks for instance might find the special rules that they have got away with for decades being tightened up.....

Aussie companies and banks make more money out of their NZ connections. NZ can play some cards in this sphere. NZ is not without friends in the International arena.

I can think of one particular Australian we can deport back to Australia rather than paying for his lifetime behind bars.


I'm not sure we have had ANY PM in my memory who spends more time in SELF promotion.
Just look at the Gas exploration announcement just before trotting off to the Climate conference for accolades.
Our first PM to never WIN an electorate and never had a JOB outside government.
Is that Democracy or does that show how MMP creates CAREER politicians that can never be VOTED OUT.

For all her faults she won PM under the rules of MMP, get over it.

The comment is not about Jacinda its about democracy and the ability to be governed by voted in representatives.
You clearly think democracy is of no value.

How do you think that worked with FPP with all the minority govts we had, mainly National

That's right. 2.6million people got out and voted in a fair and free democratic election so that we could, with all due pomp and ceremony, throw the results in the toilet and let a grumpy narcissistic septugenarian choose NZ's govt for the next 3 years. The tail wagging the dog as usual under MMP.
Perhaps in 2020 we should just save ourselves the bother and cost of the election and hand the keys over to Winston.

And ended up with a government that represented over 50% of voters, something we were failing to get under FPP.

And a serving of loud whingers on the side.

You must have forgotten the last PM

La part time prime poseur.

No matter how obnoxious we may feel the Australian policy is – and successive governments since it was introduced in the time of Helen Clark have been vocal in their opposition – Australia has not only snubbed its nose at New Zealand’s protestations, but has now felt sufficiently emboldened to go even further. Successive Prime Ministers have ruled out New Zealand stooping to Australia’s level in retaliation which, although admirable in its own right, has effectively left us with nowhere to go but acquiescence.

Why is it that successive prime ministers including TM2's lord and saviour John Key have been equally willing to be weak on the issue?

Is it only NZr’s that Australian is deporting? Believe read somewhere about a Maltese being deported in the same circumstances. Australia is Australia, whether you like it or not, we need them more than they need us. Of course NZ could reciprocate and deport their hoods that are at it here. But just as with all the other numbers, we are outsized and outpositioned. Actually think Australian exercises quite some patience and tolerance with the little kid in the corner with the big opinion about everybody else.

Why give this man oxygen? Very cynical politician. Obviously, it's hard to take on the school bully when you're a quarter his size. Too many Aussies are a bunch of racist rednecks who think we're an inferior species. Tragic, as we are two roughly similar nations with many common interests, at the bottom of the world and cut off from nations with whom we have cultural proximity by a host of potentially hostile countries.

"Too many Aussies are a bunch of racist rednecks who think we're an inferior specie"

Absolute drivel. If anything it sounds like it's YOU who has a racist animus here.

Its treatment of its Indigenous people, its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, discriminatory policies towards Kiwis, anti Asian sentiment, Pauline Hanson’s near 10% showing in Queensland - it’s been as high as 22%, the now defunct (is it?) White Australia policy. Sorry for my absolute drivel...


Why is this even an issue? If you are a guest in another country (i.e. not a citizen) and you commit a crime, you should be deported. Australian taxpayers, or any countries taxpayers, should not be on the hook paying for other countries delinquents.

I have had the odd patients come through my psychiatric hospital who had been earlier deported from Australia. Their parents had taken them to Australia as children. In some cases they had received their entire schooling in Australia . These deportees had no supports back in NZ. It was very hard not to think that Australia had created the problem so they should have to deal with it. It was also strongly suspected that these deportations were racially based, as the deportees all seem to be brown.

I've heard the stories about deportees who've lived their whole lives in Australia and have no support network in NZ, but that doesn't make sense to me either. I am ignorant on this subject, not being facetious - is there some reason these people haven't applied for and received Australian citizenship or permanent residency equivalent? If you've lived there your whole life, surely you must be in a position to do that easily.

New Zealanders have an automatic right to work in Australia but they have no special right when it comes to applying for citizenship. They have to go through the same process as any other migrant. This is very expensive and not all kiwis in Australia (over 600,000) would meet the points required for citizenship.

Alright, I looked it up. New Zealanders seem to have their own citizenship process in Australia which bypasses some of the things other migrants have to go through - the biggest benefit obviously being required to be resident in Australia for a period of time with a valid visa, which we get by default.

The cost of applying for citizenship is AUD$285, hardly expensive, and you have to pass both a language test and citizenship test showing a basic understanding of Australian laws, system of government, people and beliefs.

It really isn't onerous or expensive at all, so I stand by my original point - if they can't be bothered to sort out their citizenship status in the country they presumably intend to spend their lives, and go on to commit crimes, they really aren't Australia's problem.

@ShoreThing, before getting citizenship, NZers must obtain Permanent Residency status and this step is the hardest and most expensive!
For those arrived before Feb 2001, they will be considered PR and can apply for Citizenship straight away
For those having spent time in Aust before 1994, they can apply for their PR re-instated - reasonably easy and cheap
For those arrived between 2001 and Feb 2016, they have special category to apply for PR provided they have minimum earning of 54K or above for 5 years. fee is about 4-5k and take 2 years

Other than that getting PR in Australia is almost impossible! And Kiwis are being treated the same as any other citizens. I know because I have been through this process. So it's NOT easy!

Thank you Chairman Moa, I looked up PR and you are quite right. For anyone entering after Feb 2001 it is thousands of dollars, and quite an onerous process. Citizenship is obviously the easy part.

Of course, these deportees we are hearing about would have to be less than 18 years old to have lived most of their life in Australia and not be caught by the Feb 2001 special category visa, which is largely not the case...

Yes, I am at a lost why those were in Australia since the 80s and early 90s haven't been bothered applying for Australia Citizenship.

There will be those who a blissfully unaware they are not Australians

I went through the points calculator for PR when I was living over there in the early 2000's - being a single person, with three University degrees, holding a $120k plus tech related job and under 40 years of age still did not get me enough points to qualify for PR.

Same experience except my salary was much lower and only one degree. However as a computer programmer with a job offer I had my foot in the door. Then it was a matter of matching their computer expert requirements. One was for web-design so I attended an evening class in a Glenfield school - just six nights at two hours a night but all that mattered was they issued a certificate for web-design. Another was relational databases - now I had given courses in SQL to young graduate staff but had no certificate - fortunately I not thrown out a certificate of attendance for a 2-day Oracle course twenty years earlier.
In other words the entire process was a joke and I've no reason to believe it has improved.
Any reputable business willing to pay $120,00 and you should have been in instantly. A sane system would have made my PR dependant on higher pay (it was $50k in 2003).

Unless your specific job is on the list of jobs that award points for PR purposes, you have no show. Unfortunately mine wasnt, even though I had no problem being employed by multiple tech companies while I was over there.

The $285 is for a Permanent Resident to apply for citizenship. To get a permanent residency visa will cost around A$4,000.00.

One issue as I understand it is that quite a few of them have grown up in Australian society and been criminalised by Australian society. But because they never got their citizenship sorted, Australia is now able to export its home-grown criminals to NZ.

The ANZAC we are mates, closest relationship in the world etc is total BS. These Australian politicians view NZ migrants as cheap foreign labour. A workforce that speaks the right language and seamlessly meets their employment needs. A workforce that pays taxes but has no right to receive any social services from the taxes paid. It is so cynical and it is deplorable that Jacinda deranged syndrome people like Dunne are siding with these selfish Aussie politicians not with their fellow citizens.

Don't commit a crime don't get deported - not that complicated really.

They are actually deporting people who have no criminal convictions, but who are deemed to be of dubious character by association.

Here's a few don'ts and you will be ok to stay as long as you like.
1. join the gangs when you get to Australia or the Gold Coast in particular.
2. Buy a cheap Holden commie and drives like crazy (especially with silver fern sticker in the back windscreen)
3. By all means get a job as scaffolder but please stay away from using illicit substances, better still don't sell them
4. Don't get really drunk and pick a fight with the local
5. Don't call the police "pigs" and do dodgy stuffs


6. Don't be brown.
7. Do expect to work hard and pay taxes.
8. Don't expect to get the same social, educational or health services as real Australians though.
9. Don't expect to vote.
10. Do expect obstacles placed in front of you, if you want to become a Australian citizen.
11. Do expect a whole lot of BS about Australia and NZ being best mates.

Australia has much better health systems for Kiwis than even NZ has. The Trades education for school leavers has opened up for Kiwis and if you are friendly there is no problem with the social side. It helps to have a sense of humour

I think so too, I have run into so many kiwis who still got that "It's better at home" mentality. Aussies hate that!

She may have been slapped in the face and humiliated but it's not Scott Morrison appearing on the cover of VOGUE.
NZ wins again.
P.S is it Vogue or Vague.

My ancient and partly deaf ears (that damn D7 and too much work around stone crushers in ma youf) may have deceived me this morning, but I'm sure I heard Andrew Little confess on RNZ that NZ has exactly the same deportation regime now, as Oz is contemplating.....some eager commenter may be able to dig out the audio clip.....

Edit - found it, ears OK, pick up at 4.00 and hear AL say that "that's actually what we do here so I don't think that's a material change".....

Maybe so, but we do things a bit differently in NZ:

Australia does very well out of NZ. They get to take workers that we have paid all the costs associated with raising from children into productive workers. - healthcare, education etc, Then Australia gets them - for some or all of their most productive years. Many return in time, some will just to retire here without contributing to our system.
These NZers as a group are better educated and more likely to be employed than the Australian born population. From the tax they collectively pay you would expect them to be eligible for their share of welfare benefits when needed. Unemployment, sickness and even the cost of criminal activity should be seen as an unfortunate byproduct and liability of any society/group , to be paid for from the collective efforts of said group.
Australia is taking the benefits of this group and passing the costs back to NZ.
I don't like the idea of us tolerating being their temporary workers and was disappointed at how weak and subservient our government looks on this issue.
We need to review, harmonize, and scrap if necessary, this whole arrangement with Australia. NZ would do well holding on to these people.
Potentially Australia may need NZ more in a globally warming world and I would like to select which Australians to let in as temporary residents with no rights to vote or access to welfare.


Absolute rubbish, how is Australia forcing Kiwi's to move there? Give an example. Kiwi's move for there for the weather, better pay, broader employment options and to experience another country. In many cases they will take the job ahead of of a local. They are paid the same and rightly pay taxes there. NZ's challenge is to create employment, pay and cost of living that make the move less attractive.


I lived , studied and worked in Australia for 20 years ... it's a great place...I had fun , and made long friendships ... I had no pressing need to commit a crime , to be anti social in any way ... nor to waste the polices time , or eat prison food ...

.. and it seems I am welcome to go back there any time that suits me ...

Life is so simple if you just behave yourself , and respect your hosts ...

What would have happened Gummy if you had a major health problem? Would the 20 years of taxes you paid meant you had the same entitlements as the Aussies you were working with? Or would the expectation be you come back to NZ so the Kiwi taxpayer can look after you?

You have the same access to healthcare as an Australian Citizen, Kiwi's are entitled to a Medicare Card and all the benefits that brings. You would not be entitled to benefits however. So yes that's not equitable and a far better issue to raise rather then deporting criminals where there is no sympathy.

... that issue never arose ... always been pro-active on the health front .. eat healthy things , exercise .. avoid tobacco and sugar ...

But the Aussies very kindly picked up the tab for me doing a post graduate diploma , and two TAFE certificates.... got a free pair of safety boots too ...

Oh, Imelda.....

... you gotta larf at how many kiwis are bitter and twisted because the Aussies think that their country deserves some respect and good behaviour from people who guests there ...

Awesome boots ...

Have they deported any NZers that have taken out Australian citizenship ?

No, current legislation doesn't allow that unless one committed serious crimes to do with national security, then they can strip the Australian Citizenship for those with dual citizenship.
But never say never, they might lower the bar down to common crimes.

I agree with the Australians on deportation. Not that I like the idea of those crims coming here.
New Zealand should have the same sort of policy for non citizens. In downtown Queenstown there is a queue of tourists who drunkenly assault strangers. (drunk and after midnight). Each and every one should remain in the country for less than twenty four hours.
With more serious crime, very non-citizen who leaves jail, their only destination should be the airport.

In the local regional court there is a constant parade of international freedom campers who are convicted of shoplifting. Not a single one is ever deported. They are simply slapped on the wrist, and left to continue shitting and stealing their way around NZ.

I was in Melbourne last week. The Aussie's did some worship. Sad but true.
And I don't believe she talked tough to SoMo at all.

Did you go pray at the Great Grain Silo of Jacinda?


But all she is good for is posing for magazine covers. What else has she achieved other than being the world's biggest poser, and getting her picture spray painted on a Melbourne grain silo? And lets face it, she's hardly ever even here, too busy flitting off around the world - Paris for Facebook summmits, the US for TV talk shows, the UK for Vogue photo shoots, and now currently enjoying a nice taxpayer funded week long holiday in the Pacific Islands. Its no wonder other Governments don't take her seriously.

Stand up for yourself little NZ! Jacinda is just the latest in a long line of NZ PM's that Aussie have ignored on the issue. Long story short Aussie aren't afraid to put themselves first, we are, to our detriment. While I wouldn't point to their track record on indigenous peoples they do exceedingly well in nationbuilding and we should get with the programme. Firstly by treating Aussies who live here in the same manner as kiwis are over there.

"While I wouldn't point to their track record on indigenous peoples". So what you really mean is they've been really crap at nation building

No, they have a strong economy, thats what I was emphasising. They certainly do not have an equitible democracy...but thats another discussion altogether...

Her time would have been better spent seeking to get the Australians to ease the passage (and cost) of NZers getting permanent residency and citizenship. You are going to get no sympathy in Australia for the dozens of kiwis who break the law and arguing they should stay in Aus..... she would have been much better off promoting the position of the 600,000 lawful NZers living in Australia.

Seems like this government's focus is to promote the position of the unlawful or lazy rather than seek to improve the position of those who obey laws, pay taxes and work hard...either side of the tasman.

Well said!!!

What, how dare Peter Dunne suggest we have booted out one show pony only to replace him with another? I am shocked.

Dunne is all bitter and twisted as his best friend, Winnie, went with the team that ousted him from his seat.

Here is an Aussie who should have been returned to Australia for 'Character' reasons.

Thomas changed his name and moved to New Zealand in 2016 with a partner, before moving back to the Gold Coast.
Thomas, who was then known as Gable Tostee, was acquitted of the murder or manslaughter of his Tinder date Warriena Wright in 2016.

If I ran a country and was allowed to throw out people who misbehave, I would do so, as would most of the bleeding heart, commie, pinko, trendy leftie liberals who support the Aussie criminals sent back to their own countries, if they were in charge.

When will this PM finally realize that if you aren't an Australian you are not an Australian. If you are a Kiwi and have lived in Aus and have been too lazy or too thick to obtain citizenship then you better behave.

I would love to know your interpretation on how one can apply for Citizenship when living in Australia? Do think anyone can bowl up to the immigration office and say can you let me become Australasia?
Do some research and you will find out that it's next to impossible!

Jacinda didn't help her chances with Morrison by putting the boot in during the run up to the last Aussie election. Kicking criminal non-citizens out of the country is a sure-fire vote winner. Why would Morrison antagonise his base for a foreign politician who fairly egregiously campaigned for his opponent?

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