'It is wrong': Jacinda Ardern slams Australia in furious speech

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor
·3-min read

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has again taken aim at her Australian counterpart in a furious speech, dressing down Scott Morrison over a contentious issue between the two countries.

A visibly furious Ardern unloaded on the Aussie PM Tuesday, slamming him over the federal government's decision to strip an Australian-New Zealand dual citizen of their Australian passport over terror accusations.

The New Zealand leader spoke tersely of her frustrations with Morrison, saying "New Zealand frankly is tired of having Australia export its problems", citing what she sees as an abrogation of responsibly to a citizen who left Australia to allegedly align with the Islamic State terror group.

The Kiwi leader is not happy with Australia. Source: 1News
The Kiwi leader is not happy with Australia. Source: 1News

Ms Ardern's unusually strong remarks came after a woman and two children were reportedly picked up by Turkish officials for illegally entering from Syria.

Turkey claims the woman is an ISIS terrorist with NZ citizenship. Ms Ardern said the woman was a dual Australian and New Zealand national until Australia "unilaterally cancelled" her citizenship last year, despite the fact she left New Zealand to live in Australia at the age of six.

"Our very strong view on behalf of New Zealand and New Zealanders, was that this individual was clearly most appropriately dealt with by Australia," she said in Wellington Tuesday.

One press gallery journalist in attendance reportedly told AAP's New Zealand correspondent, Ben McKay: "That's the angriest I've ever seen her".

In a corresponding statement, Ardern called on the Australian government to comply with its international obligations and consider the welfare of children involved.

“It is wrong that New Zealand should shoulder the responsibility for a situation involving a woman who has not lived in New Zealand since she was six, has resided in Australia since that time, has her family in Australia and left for Syria from Australia on her Australian passport," Ardern said.

“Any fair minded person would consider this person an Australian and that is my view too.

“We believe Australia has abdicated its responsibilities in relation to this person and I have personally made that point to Prime Minister Morrison."

Ardern warned Morrison: 'do not deport your problems'

It's not the first time New Zealand has strongly taken up the issue.

During a press conference in Sydney a year ago, Ardern delivered the blunt message while standing next to Morrison, warning him: “Do not deport your people and your problems”.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speak to the media during a press conference in Sydney, February 28, 2020. Source: AAP
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speak to the media during a press conference in Sydney, February 28, 2020. Source: AAP

Mr Morrison, speaking at a press conference in Canberra shortly after Ardern's remarks, said the pair would discuss the issue in a phone call in the coming hours.

The Australian prime minister was unapologetic for stripping citizenship from the 26-year-old woman.

"It's my job as the Australian prime minister to put Australia's national security interests first," he said.

"The legislation that was passed through our parliament automatically cancels the citizenship of a dual citizen where they've been engaged in terrorist activities of this nature.

"We do not want to see terrorists who fought with terrorism organisations enjoying privileges of citizenship which I think they forfeit the second they engage as an enemy of our country."

with AAP

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