New Zealand lashes at Australia in citizenship row over terror suspect

  • New Zealand lashes at Australia in citizenship row over terror suspect

New Zealand lashes at Australia in citizenship row over terror suspect

For the second time in less than a month New Zealand's left-wing Labour government has attacked key ally Australia, with an angry Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lashing Canberra on Tuesday for rejecting a dual national arrested in Turkey over links to the Islamic State terrorist group.

Jacinda Ardern said the woman was an Australia-New Zealand dual national, but that Australia's Government recently stripped her of citizenship under national security laws.

And then the kicker - "New Zealand frankly is exhausted of having Australia export its problems, but now there are two children involved".

"Our very strong view on behalf of New Zealanders was that this individual was clearly most appropriately dealt with by Australia, " said Ardern.

That's left New Zealand in the position of having to provide assistance to the woman, who was on an Interpol watch list, after she was detained on the Turkey-Syria border by Turkish officials.

One New Zealand man is known to be detained in northeast Syria.

Ardern said it was 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.

New Zealand is unable to simply follow Australia's lead and cancel the woman's citizenship and that of her children; that would make the woman stateless, something barred by global law. That's my job. It's my job as Australia's Prime Minister to put Australia's national security interests first, " he told media.

But Morrison added that he would speak with Ardern further, saying: "There is still a lot more unknown about this case and where it sits and where it may go to next".

Ms Ardern said the welfare of Ms Aden's surviving children, aged five and two, was paramount.

Ms Ardern said she raised the issue with Mr Morrison past year, but that New Zealand's concerns had been brushed aside. "We know that young children thrive best when surrounded by people who love them".

Wellington has previously criticised Australia for deporting people across the Tasman Sea who have tenuous ties to the country.

Australia in 2014 introduced mandatory deportation for any and all foreign nationals who received jail terms totalling 12 months or more, with New Zealand most affected.

The language and delivery from Ardern that day was like nothing ever seen before and she was visibly on an adrenaline-fuelled high when mingling with the press pack on the plane trip back to New Zealand shortly after.