The war of words between the governments of Australia and NZ is ramping up over the thousands of NZers, many of whom are Māori, being deported by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

The Aussies say they're merely invoking their sovereignty by ridding Australia of undesirable foreigners.

NZ contends in many cases the grounds for deportation are spurious, inconsistent and inhumane.

One person in Melbourne who wanted to stay anonymous says her son's visa was cancelled due to association with known criminals, but his own record remains clean. 

It is alleged that this is a common occurrence under section 116 of the Migration Act 1958, but Dutton says it is Australia's prerogative to define their laws and who they apply to. 

"They're NZ citizens. They're not Australian citizens, and it's no breach of human rights, in fact, it's a breach of civil rights of Australians who fall victim to these criminals, and Australia won't tolerate it."

But our own Minister of Immigration Andrew Little says these laws are damaging to what was once a great friendship.  

"I think a lot of Kiwis look at what Australia's doing and are saying, this doesn't look like our nearest neighbour and the spirit with which we've grown up with each other." 

Whatever the case may be, there are many Kiwis living in Australia who can do little about it.

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