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'What are we scared of?' - Jack Tame puts PM Bill English on the spot over his stance on Trump's travel ban

Prime Minister Bill English stopped short of strongly condemning Donald Trump's controversial immigration policy when he was given the chance today.

Trump signed an executive order on Friday that suspends all immigration for citizens of seven Middle East countries for 90 days.

Trump's order imposed the most aggressive ban on Syrians, indefinitely blocking entry to the US by anyone from that country, including those fleeing civil war.

The PM is given the chance to join other global leaders in saying he is 'disgusted' by Trump's policy. Source: Breakfast

Included is a 90-day ban on travel to the US by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The US refugee programme is suspended for 120 days.

This morning on Breakfast, Mr English, who will talk to his US counterpart on a date yet to be confirmed, wasn't as forthcoming about sending a strong message to the US over their policy.

He said New Zealand wasn't scared about upsetting the US by criticising President Donald Trump, despite claims it was not going far enough to decry the policy.

But Mr English said New Zealand had to work with the United States over the long-term, and in the end it was a matter for the American people who elected Mr Trump.

"Our concern is with those who may feel that the US' policy somehow might change the welcoming way that New Zealanders treat new arrivals, refugees or migrants," he said.

"We're not nervous about diplomatic relations, but in the long run we've got to work with the US... it's still a dominant power here and the Asia-Pacific."

Mr English didn't expect comment from Trump over New Zealand's policies, saying he would be "very worked up" about it if that did happen.

"Yes I do feel a responsibility (to send a message to the US), but in the end, President Trump is elected by the American people, not the New Zealand people."

When asked what his words would be to President Trump, Mr English simply said he wouldn't be divulging the content of those conversations.

Labour leader Andrew Little yesterday criticised Mr English for how he has responded to the ban.

"It's taken Bill English two days to step up and say something, and it's been pretty weak," he said.

"We have strong diplomatic relations with the US... we should be able to step up and say 'what you are doing is not right'."

Trump has come out saying his crackdown on refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries "was not a Muslim ban".

Confusion, worry and outrage boiled over as airlines blocked people from travelling to the United States and legal challenges were mounted.

Trump has come out saying his crackdown on refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries "was not a Muslim ban".

Confusion, worry and outrage boiled over as airlines blocked people from travelling to the United States and legal challenges were mounted.