Jacinda Ardern arrives in Australia for her first official visit to the country – and prepares for a heated exchange with Scott Morrison
- Ms Ardern met with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in Melbourne, Thursday
- Her main reason for being in Australia is to deliver a speech in Melbourne
- She is expected to meet with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday
- They’ll discuss ‘corrosive issue’ of deporting Kiwis on character grounds
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has arrived in Australia to discuss family violence and mental health, but is cashing in for her country with some sideline business meetings.
Ms Ardern met with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in Melbourne on Thursday to canvass social issues, after attending a business lunch.
‘Family violence, mental health – all issues that we are both interested in,’ she said.
Mr Andrews was keen to discuss NZ’s recent ‘wellbeing budget’, widely publicised for its progressive nature, as Victoria is spending more than $10 million holding a mental health royal commission.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has arrived in Australia to discuss family violence and mental health
Ms Ardern’s main reason for being in Australia is to deliver a speech at Melbourne Town Hall on good government.
She is expected to discuss the ‘corrosive issue’ of Australia deporting New Zealanders on character grounds when she meets with Scott Morrison on Friday.
‘New Zealanders who are living in Australia and who may struggle for citizenship despite having lived here for a long time and the benefits of citizenship is something I consistently raise and will continue to do so,’ she said according to The Australian.
‘There are a number of areas where it would be completely legitimate for a New Zealand citizen to be deported back to New Zealand if they engage in criminal activity, but we have seen cases where there is almost no connection of an individual to New Zealand who had been deported.
‘I consider that to be a corrosive part of that policy and it is having a corrosive effect on our relationship so I will continue to raise that as well.’
But the New Zealand leader has made time for a few business meetings.
‘I have also met with a group of investors over lunch and will be holding a business breakfast tomorrow,’ Ms Ardern added.
‘The business community is an incredibly important source of direct investment into NZ … we’re looking for productive investment that is good for … our economy.’
The 38-year-old leader and her partner Clarke Gayford made their first public appearance with a visit to Governor Linda Dessau earlier in the day.
But the highlight of her visit will likely be a meeting with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Friday.
‘Last time I saw Jacinda was under the most difficult of circumstances when we were in Christchurch for the memorial service which was a heart-wrenching exercise,’ the Australian leader told reporters.
Fifty-one people died in the March terror shooting, parts of which were streamed live on social media.
Mr Morrison has since moved initiatives at the G20 as part of the ‘Christchurch call’ to send a message that social media and internet platforms ‘can’t be weaponised by terrorists’.
‘There are many issues to be discussed around security arrangements,’ he said.
The pair is also expected to discuss the Pacific step-up program, with some healthy sporting banter in the mix.
‘I’ll pass on my commiserations for the (cricket) World Cup … I was backing the Black Caps,’ Mr Morrison said of the final won by England.
‘They couldn’t have got any closer and we are going to have to win the Ashes for the Kiwis as well as us.’
Friday’s meeting will take place in Melbourne.