National Party officials announced today they want to look at retaliating against Australia's law that deports New Zealand criminals - by implementing the same law here.
"In principle, if it’s right for Australia, it's worth exploring whether it's also the right position for New Zealand and our interests," leader Simon Bridges said.
Australia's 2014 law that deports people who commit crimes to New Zealand - even when they've spent most of their lives living overseas - was described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in July as "corrosive" to its relationship with New Zealand.
"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 at the time.
She said it was an "issue we will continue to raise". That time is set to come this week, as Ms Ardern told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning she intends to speak "frankly" with Australia PM Scott Morrison this week as the law was impacting gangs and impacting the relationship.
National today announced it would look at retaliating against the law, exploring legislation that would make deportion the norm for Australians convicted of serious crimes in New Zealand.
"It’s the legal right of the Australian government to deport Kiwi criminals. However, we have the same rights and it’s my view that New Zealand needs to explore how a reciprocal policy could work here.
"While Jacinda Ardern has labelled this issue as corrosive to our relationship with Australia, I don’t agree. If it’s right for Australia, it’s worth exploring whether it’s also the right position for New Zealand and our interests."
National pledged to challenge Australia's immigration changes when it was last in Government in 2015, with then Justice Minister Amy Adams telling RNZ it was "creating some unfairness".