NZ PM speaks bluntly to Australia over fate of dual national

Thursday, 18 Feb, 2021

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been arguing with Australian counterpart Scott Morrison over which country should take responsibility for the woman if she's deported from Turkey.

"New Zealand had helped 'establish the conditions for the current intra-Afghan peace process" and "improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan, particularly in Bamyan Province", Henare said.

Tens of thousands of women and children, most of whom are under the age of five, with alleged links to Islamic State group (IS) fighters have been detained without due process in camps run by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces militia in northeast Syria.

Ardern raised the issue of the woman when authorities first detected that she was headed to Syria.

Ardern said her government has an obligation to its citizens regardless of the circumstances or offences committed, and that decisions would be driven by the fact that two small children "who did not make the choice of being born in a war zone" were involved. She was also an Australian citizen - until recently.

Last year, families from Australia and four other countries, including Belgium, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, began working together to repatriate their relatives from northern Syria. It is needed not just for case like this, but for other types of extremism already visible in New Zealand.

Mr Morrison said he would speak to Ms Ardern later in the day.

"New Zealand, frankly, is exhausted of having Australia exporting its problems", Ms Ardern said. There is significant immigration between the two southern hemisphere countries and dual citizenship is not uncommon.

Ardern says feedback from the students was that period products should be made available for all who need them, when they need them.

"I think everyone who has a little person in their lives will know how important these precious things can be, so maybe you can help us find whoever "wink" belongs to?"

However, we would caution that there are two young children whose wellbeing should not be lost in any tussle between the two governments.

"My job is Australia's interest, that's my job", he told reporters there.

Australian legislation to automatically cancel citizenship for dual nationals determined to have engaged in terrorism has been used against at least 17 people who reportedly joined IS.

At one time up to 66 Australians, including 44 children, were believed to be in the camps, though the Australian government repatriated eight children in June 2019, and others may have escaped.