Jacinda Ardern’s ‘clever’ answer as Karl Stefanovic asks about Scott Morrison relationship


Jacinda Ardern has expertly dodged a question about her frosty relationship with former prime minister Scott Morrison as Stefanovic called out the New Zealand PM for her ‘very clever’ answer. 

The New Zealand prime minister landed in Sydney on Thursday night to meet with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese so the pair can discuss in-person a range of issues, including Australia’s controversial deportation laws.

After a night spent enjoying Vivid and trading favourite vinyl records with Mr Albanese at Kirribilli House, Ms Ardern headed to the Today Show on Friday morning for a chat.

Ms Ardern was discussing the gifts exchanged during her breakfast interview when she was quizzed by Today co-host Leila McKinnon on whether she and Mr Morrison traded records.

The two Trans-Tasman leaders had a testy relationship and didn’t see eye-to-eye on various issues, including Australia’s controversial policy of deporting criminals to New Zealand.

‘We talked about music on occasion but I’m not sure I would’ve picked necessarily the right music if I think I was given that task,’ Ms Ardern quipped. 

Jacinda Ardern issued a cheeky response when asked why she and former Australian PM Scott Morrison didn’t trade records

Co-host Karl Stefanovic laughed and replied: ‘You’re being VERY diplomatic. Very clever.’

Australia’s policy of deporting criminals to New Zealand who don’t have familial or community ties in Aotearoa will a hot discussion topic when she meets with Mr Albanese for official talks on Friday.

Ms Ardern’s government believes many of those deportees arrive untethered, without support networks, and can be destitute or join gangs.

She stressed she had no issue with Australia deporting criminals if they’re Kiwis.

‘If a New Zealander  comes to Australia and commits a crime, send them home. That’s wrong,’ she said.

‘But when someone comes here and essentially, hasn’t even really had any connection with New Zealand at all, has spent their entire formative years and grown up here and have all their connections in Australia and are essentially Australian, sending them back to New Zealand that’s where we’ve had the grievance.’

Anthony Albanese had Jacinda Ardern over for dinner at Kirribilli House on Thursday night

Anthony Albanese had Jacinda Ardern over for dinner at Kirribilli House on Thursday night

‘I’ve heard the Prime Minister prior to winning the election speak to his acknowledgement that  is the part of the policy that we’ve taken issue with. Even that acknowledgement says to me he’s hearing us, he knows it’s a problem.

‘We’ve never asked deportations as a general rule to stop. We won’t be hypocritical about it, because we do it too. It’s just those extraordinary cases that trouble us.’

Ms Ardern also gave her take on relations in the Pacific and with China. 

For the new Australian government, the engagement is seen as a meet-and-greet with a key regional ally.

The pair will also discuss tensions in the Pacific, and US President Joe Biden’s new Indo Pacific Economic Framework initiative.

However for New Zealand, any bilateral meeting with Australia is also a chance to press for concessions from its most important partner.

The significance of the relationship to New Zealand is underscored in a NZ ministry of foreign affairs brief received by foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta, when she took office in 2020.

‘The trans-Tasman relationship lies at the heart of New Zealand’s prosperity and security and Australia is our indispensable partner across the breadth of our international interests,’ the statement reads.

‘Australia is our only formal military ally, our most important security partner and our largest economic partner – the reverse is not the case.’

Anthony Albanese shows off his new haul of records following a trade with Jacinda Ardern

Anthony Albanese shows off his new haul of records following a trade with Jacinda Ardern

The asymmetric relationship is clear in both population – Australia is five times bigger – and economically, where Australia has a GDP seven times larger.

There are an estimated 700,000 Kiwis living in Australia – around 14 per cent of New Zealand’s population – while there are 70,000 Australians in Aotearoa, representing 0.3 per cent of Australia’s residents.

‘As the smaller partner in the trans-Tasman relationship, New Zealand needs to work with energy and vision to maintain the vitality of what will continue to be our principal bilateral relationship,’ the MFAT brief continues.

Ms Ardern had a testy relationship with former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Ms Ardern had a testy relationship with former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

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