TODAY |

Govt's number one role should be protecting New Zealanders - Collins

Judith Collins says the Government's top priority has to be protecting New Zealanders, even if it means not being a "good global citizen".

Your playlist will load after this ad

The National leader says refugees shouldn't keep their NZ citizenship if they use their passport to travel and connect with terrorist groups. Source: Q+A

The National leader has been advocating stripping violent criminals of their citizenship status.

But Q+A's Jack Tame on Sunday morning asked her if deporting known extremists, albeit in rare cases, to poorer countries where there are fewer resources that can be dedicated to monitoring them was consistent with being a "good global citizen".

"The number one role that the Government has is to protect the citizens of New Zealand, people in New Zealand. That's got to be the number one thing," Collins told Tame.

"But if we have cases, and I'm sure that there will be the odd case at the moment, where someone's come to New Zealand, claimed protected person's status as a refugee and then ended up back in the country that they came from and they're now engaged in being connected to, say, the Taliban or other organisations like that or ISIS, you'd have to say New Zealanders should come first.

"Should these people be able to travel into New Zealand and stay here and take all the rights of New Zealand citizenship? I think these people do need to be looked at and we will know there are the odd person exactly like that in the world."

Collins said anyone seeking refugee status in New Zealand should be "loyal" to the nation.

"When you come to New Zealand and you come as a refugee, and you come in any other way, and you take New Zealand citizenship, you're signing up to be a New Zealander, you're signing up to be loyal to this country," she said.

"It is important for us to start to think about 'are we naive in our way of operating?' Should we be saying 'if someone then uses that passport to go off and travel overseas, engage in terrorist activity, should they keep that citizenship?' Well my answer to that is no, they should not and I think a lot of New Zealanders would expect us to take those steps."

Collins' comments on Sunday come after she extended an olive branch to the Government to work on new legislation following Auckland's terrorist attack on Friday.

"We're not going to stand by and just throw stones at you when you're trying to fix something that we think is a problem," she said.

It has been revealed that Immigration officials spent years trying to deport the terrorist, Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, responsible for Friday's stabbing rampage at an Auckland Countdown supermarket. Their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

Seven people were injured in the attack after the terrorist grabbed a knife off the Countdown supermarket shelf. Three people remain in a critical but stable condition.

The 32-year-old Sri Lankan terrorist was shot dead by police monitoring him.

Judith Collins. Source: Q+A