New Zealand and Australia have a very close relationship in many ways. New Zealanders can travel to Australia on a New Zealand passport. We don’t need a visa. Similarly, Australians can live and work here on an Australian passport.
However, more than 600,000 New Zealanders live in Australia whereas the number of Australians in New Zealand is closer to 60,000. Many workers here are attracted to Australia because of higher pay or more job opportunities. They can continue to live, work and buy a house in Australia without becoming Australian citizens.
There is a problem, though, if they break the law. If they are sentenced to prison for more than 12 months, and are not Australian citizens, Australia can deport them to New Zealand. In many cases, these people left New Zealand with their families when they were babies or very young children. They grew up in Australia, became criminals in Australia, but they hold a New Zealand passport. This then becomes a New Zealand problem.
It is very difficult for these people. Often, their family is in Australia, but they cannot return there to visit. When they arrive in New Zealand, they are met by somebody from PARS who may help them with accommodation and money for a short time. However, without friends or family here, many of them join gangs.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has challenged the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, about this policy. She says that New Zealand is tired of dealing with Australia’s problems. She has not specifically mentioned the Australian who killed 53 Muslims in Christchurch and is now in prison in New Zealand. Perhaps New Zealand should deport him.
deport: force someone to leave a country
sentenced: sent (to prison) for an amount of time
PARS: a government-funded organisation that helps prisoners when they are released from prison. PARS stands for Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society.