NZ is partly to blame for Australia's deporting of Kiwi-born criminals

by Bernard Lagan / 13 August, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - NZ Australia criminals

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Photo/Getty Images

In Winston Peters' view, New Zealand is the author of its own misfortune in getting offside with Australia on migration issues.

When Winston Peters left his Beehive office upon finishing up as Acting Prime Minister early this month, Labour ministers and staffers thronged a corridor to cheer.

As the Listener – the last appointment in his diary – looked on, it was apparent the departing Peters had not been expecting the accolade, led by Labour’s Kelvin Davis. Possibly for some, the ovation also reflected relief that the sometimes flinty Peters had not shattered returning Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Government. For most, it was an appreciation of Peters’ stewardship while Ardern was on maternity leave.

The one fight he picked was with Australia – always a punch-up that the wily Peters knows will endear him to legions of New Zealanders. Riled by Australia’s seeming indifference to concerns that it is deporting New Zealand-born criminals who have little or no connections left with their country of origin, Peters went on the offensive.

Australia, he said, knew it was in breach of international conventions by holding a New Zealand-born teen in adult detention ahead of his joining the 1300 New Zealanders already sent home.

Later, he accused Australia of pinching its flag design from New Zealand’s, suggesting it substitute a kangaroo instead. That was what Australians call a piss-take: Peters has a deeper grasp on the Australian psyche and far better relations with those who matter across the Tasman than he’s credited with. In his student days, he worked in the outback and has since closely followed events there. When he was cheered out of the Beehive, he was on his way to Singapore for a round of meetings, including with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Peters is close to her and the pair are scheduled to meet twice again before the end of this month.

As a long-time critic of New Zealand’s own levels of immigration – and what he believes is the ease with which many migrants are admitted – Peters is nearer than he may admit to the views of the architect of Australia’s clampdown on New Zealand criminals, Canberra’s Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, a wooden former Queensland cop. That is not to say Peters agrees with how Dutton dispatches New Zealanders, but it does allow him to know what may persuade Australia to do things differently.

In the next months, watch for a proposal from New Zealand to address a long-standing sore point with its neighbour over migration: the number of migrants to New Zealand who then find their way to Australia soon after gaining New Zealand citizenship. Many would otherwise fail Australia’s more stringent points test for would-be migrants but get in by dint of Australia’s open door for New Zealand citizens.

In Peters’ view, this makes New Zealand the author of its own misfortune in getting offside with Australia on migration issues – an annoyance, arguably, that has contributed to Australia’s intransigence over the deportation issue. The proportion of New Zealand citizens migrating to Australia who were not born in New Zealand was about one in four in the year ended April 2017 – a number that has increased since 2011.

Moreover, the makeup has also changed. Twenty years ago, Pasifika people accounted for the bulk (40%) of the non-New Zealand-born Kiwis heading to Australia. Today, Asia-born New Zealanders account for a third or more.

Although the shape of a New Zealand proposal to cut the numbers of non-New Zealand-born moving to Australia has yet to be revealed, it is hard to imagine a workable one that won’t penalise one group of New Zealand citizens more than others.

That may be the price of convincing Australia to rethink its New Zealand deportations.

This article was first published in the August 18, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Bruce Springsteen’s cinematic new album heads into cowboy country
108195 2019-07-22 00:00:00Z Music

Bruce Springsteen’s cinematic new album heads into…

by James Belfield

The stars in the title of Bruce Springsteen’s 19th album aren’t just those shining down on the hardscrabble American lives that have long inhabited...

Read more
What you need to know about your vitamin D levels in winter
108187 2019-07-22 00:00:00Z Health

What you need to know about your vitamin D levels…

by Nicky Pellegrino

Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and exposure to winter sun is a good way to maintain it.

Read more
Humans aren't designed to be happy – so stop trying
108639 2019-07-22 00:00:00Z Psychology

Humans aren't designed to be happy – so stop tryin…

by Rafael Euba

Chasing the happiness dream is a very American concept, exported to the rest of the world through popular culture.

Read more
Kiwi pies filling gap in Chinese market
108684 2019-07-22 00:00:00Z Food

Kiwi pies filling gap in Chinese market

by Siobhan Downes

If you’re ever in China and find yourself hankering for a pie, one Kiwi couple has you covered.

Read more
Bill Ralston: We're in for fireworks if John Banks runs for mayor
108531 2019-07-21 00:00:00Z Politics

Bill Ralston: We're in for fireworks if John Banks…

by Bill Ralston

If John Banks joins Auckland’s mayoral race, there's a chance he could rise from the political dead.

Read more
Once were Anzacs: The epic history of Māori soldiers in WWI
108382 2019-07-21 00:00:00Z History

Once were Anzacs: The epic history of Māori soldie…

by Peter Calder

The role of Māori soldiers in World War I has long been relegated to footnotes, but a major new work by historian Monty Soutar re-examines their...

Read more
The new Lion King lacks the original's claws
108533 2019-07-21 00:00:00Z Movies

The new Lion King lacks the original's claws

by Russell Baillie

A naturalistic remake of the 1994 Disney hit cartoon musical will bring in the dough, but it just doesn't quite work.

Read more
50th moon landing anniversary: New Zealand's forgotten Nasa legend
108468 2019-07-20 00:00:00Z History

50th moon landing anniversary: New Zealand's forgo…

by Peter Griffin

Today marks 50 years since humans landed on the Moon, a feat achieved thanks to Kiwi scientist William Pickering and his team.

Read more