Dutton Chips ‘Regrettable’ Ardern Comments on Deportation Laws

March 2, 2020 Updated: March 2, 2020

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has lashed out at New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for challenging Australia’s controversial deportation laws.

Last week, Ardern used a joint press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to attack the policy, which has seen about 2000 criminals sent back to New Zealand.

“Do not deport your people and your problems,” she said.

She added that many of the Kiwi deportees had lived most of their lives in Australia and had no connection to New Zealand.

“They have grown up in Australia, that is their home, and that is where they should stay.”

Dutton said her comments were “regrettable,” but he did not resile from the policy.

“New Zealand obviously is in an electoral cycle at the moment,” he told Sky News on Monday.

“It is, I think, regrettable that she made the comments, but that would have played well domestically for her.”

Australia’s policy of deporting foreign-born criminals has placed a deep strain on trans-Tasman relations for several years.

“I think, for Australia, we act in our national interest and her job is to act in the national interest of New Zealanders, so I don’t think there is any surprise there,” Dutton said.

“But I don’t have any regrets about the numbers of visas we’ve cancelled, particularly the people who have committed sexual offences against women and children.”

Ardern raised the example of a woman who had left New Zealand at the age of one but was kicked out of Australia regardless.

Mr Dutton is not taking a backward step.

“If you’re born in Australia, and you commit an offence in any part of the world, you can expect to be deported back to Australia, and that’s the responsibility of any sovereign nation,” he said.

“But for us, we have 99 per cent of people who come here who do the right thing.

“But if you’re a non-citizen coming to our country and you’re assaulting an Australian, you’re breaking in; you’re stealing … then you can expect to have your visa cancelled and be deported.”