Malcolm Turnbull

Jacinda Ardern arrives in Australia amid deportation controversy


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will raise New Zealand's concerns about Australia's deportation policy when she meets Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Friday.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in Sydney on Thursday accompanied by her Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, cabinet ministers and a business delegation.

Ms Ardern and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will have a bilateral meeting in Sydney on Friday and will participate in an Australia-NZ leadership forum.

The fate of New Zealand's convicted criminals deported from Australia will reportedly be on the agenda when Ms Ardern and Mr Turnbull hold talks.

As of late January, there were 170 New Zealanders, including 17 women, in Australian immigration detention whose visas were automatically revoked following a December 2014 crackdown on foreign-born convicted criminals.

Foreigners who have served more than 12 months in Australian jails have been steadily rounded up for deportation.

However, some New Zealanders who grew up in Australia and have weak ties across the ditch have appealed their deportations.

Ms Ardern acknowledged Australia's legal rights to toughen up visa rules, but flagged she'll be putting a moral case to Mr Turnbull during their meeting.

A New Zealand parliamentary committee last week was told 1023 deportees had been sent back in the last two years and 44 per cent of them had reoffended.

"No one would argue that bringing someone back to New Zealand who has never stepped foot in this country lends itself to an easy process of reintegration and rehabilitation," Ms Ardern told reporters in Wellington on Thursday, adding there were questions over the policy's fairness.

"It leaves us with a very tough job and I'll continue to raise it."

Her visit comes only days after the airing of a 60 Minutes interview with Australian journalist Charles Wooley that was slammed by critics for being "sexist" and "tone-deaf".

Mr Wooley was criticised on social media for asking when Ms Ardern's baby was conceived and describing the prime minister as young and attractive.

"I've met a lot of prime ministers in my time, but none so young, not too many so smart, and never one so attractive", he said of the interview. 

Prime Minister Ardern said she "wasn't fazed" by the 60 Minutes interview.

New Zealand's opposition leader Simon Bridges will also be in Sydney for the leadership forum.

Mr Bridges said ties between the two countries had taken a bit of a "bruising" after Ms Ardern, late last year, reaffirmed NZ's offer to resettle 150 refugees Australia sent to Manus Island.

The proposal was initially made by the Key government in 2013.

The Abbott and Turnbull governments have consistently rejected the offer based on concerns refugees could use New Zealand as a "back door" to get across the Tasman.

Mr Turnbull and Ms Ardern are more likely to find common ground on efforts to boost business and investment ties.

Mr Turnbull said he and wife Lucy were looking forward to welcoming Ms Ardern and her partner, fishing show host Clarke Gayford.

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