Jacinda Ardern’s repeated demands for Australia to stop deporting New Zealand criminals were again dismissed on Friday.
The New Zealand Prime Minister met her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, in Melbourne on Friday, in their first face-to-face talks since the Coalition won the May election.
Top of the agenda was the ongoing concern about New Zealand criminals being deported from Australia.
But Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, speaking ahead of the meeting, has warned the policy will not be changed.
Successive New Zealand governments have raised concern with the policy, after more than 1500 Kiwi criminals were deported since the rules were tightened in 2014.
“There are a number of areas where it will be completely legitimate for a New Zealand citizen to be deported back to New Zealand if they engage in criminal activity,” she said on Thursday.
“But we have seen cases where there is also almost no connection of an individual to New Zealand who had been deported.
“I consider that to be a corrosive part of that policy, and it’s having a corrosive effect on our relationship.”
Examples often used are New Zealanders who moved to Australia as children, with limited to no family ties back across the Tasman.
“We need to stand up for Australians,” Mr Dutton told Channel Nine.
“And the New Zealand Prime Minister is rightly doing that for her people.
“But where we’ve got Australian citizens who are falling victim in certain circumstances where people are sexually offending against children, for example, we’ve had a big push to try to deport those pedophiles.”
Ms Ardern and Mr Morrison will also discuss global trade and the development of the Pacific, along with ways to combat extremist material being shared on social media in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.
The Australian Prime Minister secured the backing of G20 leaders in Japan last month to pressure social media companies such as Facebook to block such content.
That attack killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques in March, with the violence streamed live online.
Another policy area where the Australian Government is unlikely to shift is New Zealand’s ongoing offer to resettle refugees housed in offshore detention on Manus Island and Nauru.
Canberra has repeatedly knocked back the offer, suggesting it could provide asylum seekers with a “back door” into Australia, given the more immigration regime between the two nations.
This was placed in our hotel room in Melbourne.
Sense of humour or diplomatic incident? pic.twitter.com/kFcIO83SYk
— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) July 19, 2019
However, there is a sense among some in the Government the offer may be accepted once the existing resettlement deal with the United States is exhausted.
That agreement, made by Malcolm Turnbull and Barack Obama, angered Donald Trump.
But US authorities have accepted some refugees under the arrangement.