"Visibly furious" Jacinda Ardern berates Scott Morrison in press conference
The detained woman held dual citizenship for Australia and New Zealand, but her Australian citizenship was revoked as part of a new policy to strip dual-citizenship from terrorists.
As the woman travelled on her Australian passport, she was detained and is now considered legally to be only a New Zealand citizen, despite not living in the country since the age of six.
This left Ardern furious.
“I never believe that the right response was to simply have a race to revoke people’s citizenship … 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,” Ms Ardern said on Tuesday.
Ms Ardern said her government “firmly believe” the woman should return to Australia, and has “repeatedly communicated that view to the Australian government at the highest levels”.
“It is 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.
“Any fair-minded person would consider this person an Australian and that is my view too,” Ms Ardern said.
Ardern has said that the chief priority is the welfare of the two children.
“These children were born in a conflict zone through no fault of their own,” Ms Ardern said.
“Coming to New Zealand, where they have no immediate family, would not be in their best interests. We know that young children thrive best when surrounded by people who love them. We will be raising these points with the Australian Government.
“We will be engaging with the Turkish authorities, and given there are children involved, their welfare will be top of mind in our response.”
When Mr Morrison was asked about New Zealand's response, he said that it was his job to put "Australia's national security interests first".
He also pointed out that as a part of the legislation, citizenship can be cancelled "automatically and that has been a known part of Australia's law for some time".
“There is still a lot more unknown about this case and where it sits and where it may go next,” Mr Morrison added.
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