On the thorny issue of deporting New Zealand citizens who have lived in Australia for a long time, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she was encouraged by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s recognition of their treatment.
There does not appear to be an answer yet, but the two leaders have agreed that their ministers will discuss the matter further in the coming weeks.
“What I heard was a real awareness of some of the issues we have long raised, a longstanding expectation that Australia will not deport individuals who have long lived in Australia and are essentially Australians, but also to ensure to ensure that there is a realistic and safe path to permanent residence and citizenship for those who need it,” she said.
“These are not new problems, but this is a new government and so of course we want to take the time to solve those problems.”
Albanian said his government would enforce Section 501 – the part of the immigration law under which non-citizen criminals are deported – but that “there are also concerns that need to be resolved as friends”.
When asked whether he would consider taking into account the length of time someone has lived in Australia, Albanian said he would not anticipate policy changes without going through the appropriate governance processes.
Ardern says New Zealand’s stance on deportation has historically been mischaracterized for political purposes, but it’s clear the country doesn’t want Australia to relinquish its powers to deport people who break the law.
Rather, she says it wants to see more reciprocity. She notes that New Zealand deports people who have been in the country for a relatively short time.
“But there are some who are being deported from Australia who are Australian in every way. Often without any connection to New Zealand, sometimes without even setting foot there,” she says.