Anzac relations under stress

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: ODT files
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: ODT files
You could, if you felt like making light of a serious situation, have a bit of fun with the latest transtasman stoush and some of the verbal volleys flying between the leaders of New Zealand and Australia.

What examples can you identify of things in New Zealand we would happily send back to Australia, and things in Australia that would be welcome back here?

The list in the first category is easily filled. Begone, ugg boots. See you later, wallabies and possums and the various spiders that came from the big country. Good riddance, all Australian beer. And, yes, Neighbours can surely be restricted to the other side of the Ditch.

That is before we even get to the "501s", the criminals sent to New Zealand despite having no family or long-term connection here.

Things in Australia we would be keen to see back in Aotearoa? Not so many. Perhaps Russell Crowe — but only when he is winning awards. The good weather that was clearly stolen from us at some stage. A handful of rugby league players. Crowded House. And the bits that remain of champion racehorse Phar Lap.

It’s all a bit of a laugh, but New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was certainly not laughing this week when she tore into her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, over the treatment of a suspected terrorist with links to both nations.

The woman, suspected of links to IS, and two young children were caught trying to enter Turkey from Syria illegally.

At first, the New Zealand and Australian governments were on board with finding a joint solution, as the woman has dual citizenship.

But, in tactics reminiscent of the underarm, the Australians promptly washed their hands of the case, revoking the woman’s citizenship — even though she had moved there from New Zealand when she was 6, still has family there, and has been travelling on an Australian passport — and leaving it up to New Zealand to deal with her.

Naturally, Ms Ardern was not best pleased at that development, especially as she was not informed first.

"We will put our hands up when we need to own the situation. We expected the same of Australia. They did not act in good faith."

The clash of philosophies — the "be kind" Ardern mantra against the "pragmatic conservative" Morrison approach — was neatly summarised by University of Otago professor of international relations Robert Patman.

"Jacinda Ardern has a different world view from Scott Morrison," he told AAP.

"Scott Morrison felt quite comfortable with Mr Trump, and the right-of-centre view of a world in which the great powers call the shots, the kiss-up, kick-down world. And I think Jacinda Ardern does believe passionately in an international rules-based system."

There is a temptation to see this as just part of the political game. Mr Morrison gets to pander to his public and be seen as hard-line on terrorism; Ms Ardern gets an easy win — even Judith Collins seems to be largely on board — and to be seen as a compassionate leader.

But we can still feel annoyed at Australia’s actions here, and back the firm stance taken by Ms Ardern.

She, on behalf of New Zealanders, has previously made clear her frustration at Australia’s deportation policy, saying "Do not deport your people and your problems", and yet it continues.

Our countries are close friends and allies. We have stood together and fought together, and share much in common. But our differing approaches to issues of citizenship is doing us no favours.

It escapes no-one’s notice that, tucked away inside a maximum-security prison, having cost New Zealanders millions of dollars, a man who murdered 51 of our people is being housed for the rest of his life.

Are we the fools for retaining that humanitarian dignity in the way we treat criminals? Or is it Australia that must change the way it deals with these situations?

In the spirit of the Anzacs, we hope our neighbours can at least do a better job working with us, not against us.



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Australia is getting into a habit, exporting its terrorists to NZ. The mosque shooter was an aussie, now this ISIS bride. I wonder who the next one will be?

NZ is one of those countries that thinks it's inputs are more important than they really are. Exporting it's terrorists? What, NZ doesn't have border control? Before the aircraft departs OZ the passenger manifest is transmitted to the NZ police. They know who is comming before the aircraft ever starts it's engines. How about the government do something then rather than complain when they arrive? It's no surprise these undesirables are headed to NZ. How about an agreement with OZ that the criminals serve the rest of their sentence in a NZ prison? Done in other countries all the time. Kiwis love to complain but don't do anything to prevent what's taking place. The media tells you Arden is pissed and people like Patman say she is "standing up" to the big boys. Total BS! It's all designed to make Ardern look good. The reality is OZ couldn't give a toss and Morrison sees Ardern as a nucence. She is a fly buzzing around his head. NZ lacks the prestige to be taken seriously in the international community. We talk a good game but in the end we are far from the fringe of international influence. That will never change. We are a podunk country in the pacific, nothing more, nothing less!

Can you please provide a reference for some of your claims. For instance: passenger manifests are sent to the NZ police before the plane departs Oz. I've missed that development somewhere. Which countries have agreements that they will place criminals from other countries in their prisons? This seems fraught with all sorts of constitutional and human rights problems.
Far from your representation of NZ as being an minnow in the world of international influence, many world leaders have in the past and still currently speak of NZ punching well above its weight in international affairs, both as a nation and from the exploits of many Kiwis who have made their mark on the international stage.
As for the media representing Ardern as a saint, What? The NZ mainstream press and TV do the complete opposite. I think you must be reading foreign media who do routinely present a far more balanced view. It's one reason I make the ODT my prime NZ newspaper, they can usually be relied upon to present a balanced view.
You present yourself as a closed mind and prone to conspiracy-like speculations. You should try fact-checking some of your assumptions before rushing into print.

I would recommend that IRD read to see how a lot of the people who emigrated here find the place. Sexist, racist, homophobic all come to mind. I think rather than advising people to fact check before rushing to print, you should check your privilege and abstain from printing all together. Only a dimwit would argue other countries say NZ punches above its weight! Only OZ and NZ use that expression. It's for a domestic audience. Exactly how do we punch above or weight?

Agree. It's actually is a derogatory phrase in other countries (IRD...look it up). It means Kiwis are trying to over impress; To be in a situation that requires powers or abilities that one does not possess. To be (temporarily) successful in such a situation. Not a phrase most other countries view as a favourable comment. But hey, fill your boots...keep on punching above your weight.

I have looked it up as you suggested, I could not find one derogatory interpretation of the phrase or any that would match your interpretation. I guess if I expressed it as in "you're punching above your weight in trying to belittle me with your comments" it could be seen by the overly sensitive, like, say, an Australian, as being derogatory.
Oh, and for the record my pseudonym is "lrd", all lower case letters

Wow, seems I touched a nerve, Good, no point expressing an opinion if it's not going to be noticed. However, that aside, a simple Google search will find many references to foreigners, including world leaders, making reference to NZ punching above its weight and citing examples. I may be a dimwit on some issues and I'm always open to alternative views, but I'm not dim enough to be sucked into the vortex of providing others with examples. Do your own leg work. I stand by my assertion.
As to your opening comments and the reference to the article: we are not in disagreement non any of those points. I have occasionally made similar comments myself, most recently agreeing with Taika waititi's observation that NZ is extremely racist. In my dimness I fail to see how this relates to anything I said in my original comment.

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