National leader Judith Collins says the current “tit-for-tat rhetoric” between Australia and New Zealand is something she’s not seen “for years”, and is a sign of an increasingly strained relationship.
It comes after a number of incidents between the countries, most recently with Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins saying yesterday it was Australia that backed out of a trans-Tasman bubble. He said the countries were getting close to an agreement last month, but Australia changed its mind and decided it wanted to make independent decisions.
“This blame game between Australia and New Zealand has to stop. This is silly,” Collins told Breakfast today.
She then made reference to the latest round of 501 deportees Australia sent to New Zealand. As the most recent flight took off, Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton referred to the deportations as the country "taking the trash out".
“Peter Dutton in Australia [is] making comments about ‘sending out the trash’ in the same week that we’re commemorating what happened when an Australian came to New Zealand and killed 51 people.”
She continued: “It’s not acceptable when we’ve got [Trade Minister] Damien O’Connor … telling Australia to be nicer to China.
“Come on. We’ve actually got to have a bit more respect between both Governments and both countries.
“You know the Australians like to give a bit of verbal biff. We’ve got to be a bit better than that.”