- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tore into Australia's deportation policy in Sydney, while Scott Morrison stood directly beside her looking profoundly awkward.
- The two normally chummy countries have clashed over Australia's policy of deporting NZ citizens, no matter how long they have been in Australia, if they have committed a crime.
- “We will own our people," Ardern said. "We ask that Australia stops exporting theirs."
- Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.
The moments in which you would gladly swap your life with Scott Morrison's are few and far between these days, and this is no exception.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took her opportunity at a joint address in Sydney to lash Morrison on Australia's deportation policy – all while Scott stood next to her looking like he might want to slide down through the ground into the earth.
Ardern went on a spray about Australia's policy of deporting New Zealand citizens if they had committed a crime, regardless of how long the person had been living in Australia. There have been cases where people with limited connection to NZ have been sent back by Australia – such as the case of AFL star Dustin Martin's father, who was deported after over 20 of living in Australia due to his connections to a rebel bikie club.
“Australia is well within its rights to deport individuals who break your laws,” Ardern said. “New Zealand does the same. But we have a simple request: send back Kiwis. Genuine Kiwis. Do not deport your people and your problems.”
“I’m not asking that Australia stops the policy,” Ardern went on to say. “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 be organised criminals.
“We will own our people. We ask that Australia stops exporting theirs."
Scott Morrison sparred back – a reminder that he was standing beside her for all of this – pointing to the fact the policy is applied equally and does not specifically target New Zealand citizens.
“The Australian government’s policy is very clear,” he said. “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. You commit a crime here, if convicted, once you have done your time, we send you home."
The issue is likely to continue to simmer in the future without a resolution, and Ardern has turned it into a domestic issue in the lead up to the New Zealand elections. Last week, Ardern slapped down opposition leader Simon Bridges' plan to return fire by deporting Australian citizens accused of crimes – describing it as "naive", according to the NZ Herald.
But for now, let's just enjoy this frame: