NZ Justice Minister Andrew Little has come under fire from Australian ministers for his comments on Australian deportation policy. (Photo: ABC)
Oz Kiwi opinion
We commend Andrew Little for continuing to call out the Australian Government on this matter.
The behaviour of some Australian politicians has indeed been venal – motivated by a desire to win votes by appearing ‘tough on crime’ without any consideration for good policy, due process, or the effect their actions have on friendly nations.
It is certainly true that Australia has a sovereign right to do as it wishes. However, having the freedom to do something does not mean that that action is right, reasonable, or that it should be accepted without criticism by others.
Successive New Zealand governments have been remarkably tolerant of Australian actions that have undermined long-standing assumptions about the bilateral relationship, constantly stressing Australia’s ‘sovereign rights’, avoiding direct criticism, and seeking to address matters of concern quietly behind the scenes to avoid embarrassing Australia’s leaders.
Unfortunately, the Australian response has too often been to keep enacting policies that are inimical to the interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders, dumping New Zealand’s political leaders in a position where they appear weak before their own electorate as they try to patch up the relationship and explain Australia’s position.
Peter Dutton has been the worst offender in this regard, constantly showing a complete disregard for New Zealand’s legitimate concerns about the effects of the policies he administers and seeking to politicise them in a crude manner to bolster his tough guy image at the expense of good relations between our two countries.
Andrew Little repeats comments on Australian deportation policy
19 July 2018
Lucy Bennett, Political Reporter, NZ Herald
Justice Minister Andrew Little has doubled down on comments he made about Australia’s deportation policy which brought a rebuke from its Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
Little, who appeared on the programme this week along with Foreign Affairs and acting Prime Minister Winston Peters, was critical of Australia’s deportation policies, saying there appeared to be a “venal, political strain” to them and were “certainly not consistent with any humanitarian ideals that I thought both countries once shared”.
Speaking to 2GB today, Dutton said Little might want to “reflect a little more” on the trans-Tasman relationship. “There’s a lot that we do for New Zealand … We’re a big land mass between them and boats coming from Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
Little said today he wasn’t sure which comments Dutton was referring to. “I think it’s the general tone that I’ve, as Peters has on the issue of the 17-year-old, called out Australia on what looks like a practice that doesn’t accord with basic human rights.
“As minister in charge of our two primary intelligence agencies I am totally confident about the contribution we make in the interests of New Zealand, of the region and of the world.
[Read the full NZ Herald article].