Australia's policy to deport people who commit crimes to New Zealand - even when they've spent most of their lives living overseas - is "corrosive" to the relationship between the two nations, Jacinda Ardern said today, warning that it's not an issue she's intending to let go.
The Prime Minister is on a short visit across the ditch to meet Australian PM Scott Morrison, with whom she discussed the deporting of New Zealand citizens.
"New Zealand absolutely accepts Australia is within its rights to deport those who engage in criminal activity in Australia," she told media today.
"However, there are examples on the more extreme end, where individuals have little to no connection at all to New Zealand, have grown up in Australia, and those are the cases we continue to raise with Australia at every level."
She said Mr Morrison "knows I consider it to be corrosive to the relationship".
"If something is wrong and if something is not fair and unjust, you don't let it go," she said. "I think it's the strength of our friendship that means I am very open about this being corrosive...This is an issue we will continue to raise."
Ms Ardern added that many New Zealanders consider the policy "not fair dinkum".
Patrick Keyzer, a research professor at La Trobe University law school in Melbourne, told 1 NEWS that Australia needs to look at the mental health impact on those deported and their family.
Mr Keyzer and PhD student Dave Martin studies post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the deportation policy.
"It's had on their Australian families and friends and loved ones the feeling of dislocation they often have when they return to New Zealand," Mr Keyzer said.
"Many of them arrived in Australia when they were quite young, so they don't have strong connections with New Zealand.
"It's obvious it's had a significant impact on hundreds, even thousands of people."
Mr Keyzer said the policy has caused a human rights issue - depriving people of access to family and connection with children and partners.
"There's the issue of the PTSD and other forms of trauma...There's also a deeper cultural issue that's emerged."
He said many of the people interviewed expressed real shock and surprise that Australia "would take such a punitive approach", and a large number of those deported had a small degree of criminality.
"There seems to be a lack of proportionality in this response," he said.
Australia, he added, needs to look at the mental health impact of deportation policy.
"There are really important questions on whether Australia should take this policy approach to our closest neighbours and closest friends internationally," he said.
In Australia, the political perception seems to be that it is not a significant issue and most people are supportive of the policy, he said.
"Many Kiwis are very angry about this policy, see it as emblematic of a lack of goodwill and a lack of friendship between our countries, and I think that is really regrettable.
"It obviously is an important issue for Kiwis. That element in itself means it should be an important issue for Australians, too."