Aussie foreign minister sounds warning over working with any future NZ Labour government

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has scolded Chris Hipkins for his involvement in the Barnaby Joyce citizenship scandal (photo: Jerry Yelich-O'Connor)

Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern addressing media this evening.

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UPDATED 6pm: Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has extended an olive branch to Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop after a turbulent couple of hours of transtasman political strife.

Earlier today, Ms Bishop said she would find it hard to work with the New Zealand Labour Party, accusing it of attempting to undermine the Australian government.

Ms Ardern says she would be happy to talk to Ms Bishop and has extended the offer for her to give her a call to smooth things over.

The Labour leader says she would have been happy to call Ms Bishop herself but she didn’t have her number.

Ms Ardern also reiterated the relationship between the NZ Labour Party and the Australian government is too “important for politics to get in the way.”

She made the comments after speaking to the Australian High Commissioner Peter Woolcott this evening.

She told him her Labour MP Chris Hipkins had “no idea” that the questions he was asking in Parliament about eligibility for citizenship had anything to do with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and his citizenship.

“I also reiterated the statement from [Internal Affairs Minister] Peter Dunne, clarifying that any suggestion that we had any involvement in Mr Joyce being in the predicament he is in now, is incorrect.”

She did not formally apologise for the incident, she says, although she did tell media "Mr Hipkins should never have asked those questions."

Ms Ardern also confirmed that it was an Australian Labor Party staffer who made contact with Mr Hipkins to ask the question, not an MP and not Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten.

ABOVE: Ardern's Tuesday evening standup press conference at Parliament (from 25 minutes).

UPDATED 3pm: Relations between New Zealand and Australia are deteriorating, with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop casting doubt on her coalition government's ability to work with New Zealand under a Labour-led government. 

Speaking to media in Canberra this morning, Ms Bishop says she would "find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia.

"I’m referring to [Labor leader] Bill Shorten using a foreign political party to raise questions in a foreign parliament, deliberately designed to undermine confidence in the Australian government."

Ms Bishop has accused Mr Shorten of putting the transtasman relationship at risk over the Barnaby Joyce citizenship row.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also put the boot into his opposition over the saga.

"The Australian people elected this government, Bill Shorten wants to steal government by entering into a conspiracy with a foreign power," Mr Turnbull told the Coalition party room, the AFR reports.

NZ Labour leader Jacinda Ardern replied to Ms Biship via social media, tweeting:

Ms Ardern also posted:

Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee says he does not think he has seen anything like this before in New Zealand’s parliament.

“It’s an inexplicable act and frankly, I think there are all sorts of issues with Mr Hipkins allowing himself to be used by someone outside the parliament for what are very odd political reasons.”

Mr Brownlee says this sort of thing does not help with the transtasman relationship.

Although he would not comment on what Ms Bishop was saying, he did say her reaction was “perfectly reasonable.”

He says he has had no communication with Ms Bishop on the issue.

Meanwhile, NZ leader Winston Peters has also put in the boot, saying if someone in his caucus had done what Mr Hipkins had, he would be “at the bottom of the list.”

“It’s seriously bad that we would have the people with the lack of presence of mind to think that such an attack on Australian political institutions and its people was a good idea.” 

EARLIER: Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says shadow leader of the House Chris Hipkins showed a lack of judgment in becoming a part of a citizenship scandal that is now engulfing Australian politics.

Ms Ardern said that today when asked about the written questions Mr Hipkins submitted last week to Parliament on Australian and New Zealand citizenship laws.

Days after Mr Hipkins submitted the questions, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce confirmed he may be facing dismissal from the Australian Parliament as he could be a New Zealand citizen. Australia does not allow dual citizenship for elected officials.

Mr Joyce said that on the advice from New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs, which had received inquiries from the NZ Labour Party, they considered that he may be a "citizen by descent" of New Zealand.

Yesterday, the Labour Party would not confirm whether it had any involvement.

But Mr Hipkins had asked Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne two reasonably specific questions in the House.

Ms Ardern this morning attempted to quash any speculation that it was Mr Hipkins's questions that led to Mr Joyce's announcement.

She says the revelations came after a Fairfax Australia investigation into the issue.

But, she was at pains to point out that “these are not questions we should have been asking.”

“He was asked a question by an acquaintance in the Australian Labor party which he couldn’t answer, so he asked [the] question[s] to clarify.”

But both Mr Hipkins and Ms Ardern say Mr Hipkins had no idea who was involved when he submitted the questions last week.

NBR tried numerous times to contact Mr Hipkins yesterday but he did not respond.

But, speaking to Sky News this morning, the education spokesman said he was not directed to ask the question on behalf of the Australian Labor Party and the question came out of a conversation with a political acquaintance in Australia.

He said the questions he asked were done out of “sheer curiosity.”

“If I had known what the outcome would be, I probably wouldn't have done it.”

Ms Ardern agrees.

“Regardless of the amount of information that was known, these are not questions we should have been asking.”


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67 Comments & Questions

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If Barnaby Joyce is an Australian MP under false pretenses that is his issue

But maybe Mr Hipkins should focus on doing his job and focusing on helping Jacinda Ardern win the election - and not being a clever dick

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Hardly "false pretences" - the guy is Australian. He knows it, you know it, and the Australian public know it. Only a pedant would pursue the argument.

The bigger issue is why NZ Labour feels it appropriate to meddle in the politics of another country. Ardern's distancing from it doesn't wash.

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Hardly true
Barnaby Joyce is a big boy and knew that duall residency was an issue following other instances in the Australian parliament

He knew the possibility of his dual residency
No point blaming others for his own incompetence. He needs to take responsibility

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Some of the commentators here need to brush up on Australia Legislation.
Mr Joyce is an Australian under recent Australian law changes which were ammended years ago to address this very situation.
Hipkins and Dunne are both bloody idiots so why is anyone surprised at their involvement beats me.
Come September the 23rd I want to hear. "Dunne, you are fired".

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It's also interesting that big Jerry Brownlee who acted like a big fat pussy not sticking up for Kiwi's living in Aussie can have such strong feelings for the Aussies in this instance - when they broke the rules are now practicing double standards.

Gerry is the bloody idiot here and a hypocrite

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Most of the rights that New Zealanders lost in Australia occurred under the Helen Clark Labour government in a deal she signed with John Howard, then Australian PM. Before being critical of any failure to try and overturn this loss why don't you aim your criticism at the party asleep at the wheel when it happened.

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In some ways Clark did surprisingly little in her first two terms at least, concentrating on some legislative change, which was often left to future governments to implement. No one really should be surprised she withdrew the 17 surviving Skyhawks ( 2 were lost in the final operational year at overexhuberant airdisplays, we had 19 at the start of the year. They were not sold immediately due to usefully excessive estimates of their potential sale price by the RNZAF and gormless Garreth Morgan investment bank , and also because only the 9 former RAN A-4s were sellable as they had far less miles than the ones supplies directly to the RNZAF, the light fleet aircraft used by Australia and Argentina being too slow for modern jets to operate. The barney over the Skyhawks however stopped Clarks main ambition of destroying NZ only useful pieces of defence equipment the Orions. Clark however doubled the price of milk pints to increase Fonterra prices, froze benefits on Roger Kerrs advice and scrapped most of the nations long distance passenger trains and allowed the National Rail system to pass form Canadian National ownership to Toll Corp running under Australian war bonnet colors Scripe and Grumpy would never complain about those tactical moves ( so misleading - about attitude and intention) or the fact the highly efficient private rail constructors A G Price were closed last month., from the lack of government orders. A far more genuine icon of the Railways than the Government Rail workshops, Price built half NZR locomotives before the first Labour Government was elected . At the time of final NZR diesalisaton , A G Price tendered to build the last 98 engines in NZ at rates competitive with any of the other 18 rcieved tenders and probably half what the Railway Workshps would have offered had they been at all competitive.
However former Clark staffer Jacinda Arden is more likely to govern in the mode of Clark in 1982, all out Kirchener, Argentinian left, ie the airforce should have to run a cakestore for its bombers, F-16s are obscene, and blind faith in open door immigration and like Merkel and Malaysia.
The real point to note at the start of her poltical career as a long legged booted Petra Kelly type peacenick, was speaking all over New Zealand and through Australia on supposedly mass mobilisation marches for ban the ships marches aimed at her big cause on banning the US Navy and Anzus. At the time, refusal to confirm and deny , confirmed that all US and RN warships were nuclear armed and part o,f the second line usable nuclear deterent . Clark however was a country girl and all for farming and science and unlike me probably didnt really take note of the evidence of the mounting questionability of the desirablity of nuclear power. Arden will be less complex expect a beautiful hippie leftie warrior, who like Whitlam will give evrybody everything on tick until the money runs out.
But note that Clark was orginally in her first years as an MP leading the joint NZ/ AUs attack on the US and her own and your navies and their allignments and consistently against war and marriage. She would have considered international politcal interference her birthright- and like Arden today appreciated none of the ugly realities as the Syrian, Algerian or Sudan refuges burst across the border. Like Clark, Arden is a hard core straight faced liar whenever necessary for the cause. Both are a as a Haight Ashbeery flower girl in 1967.

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So what are the facts here? As I understand it,

1. A Sydney Morning Herald writer "went to the New Zealand High Commission and the DIA and put to them a "hypothetical scenario" because they would not comment on specific cases. I pressed them repeatedly for a response but they did not answer."

2. Later on, "someone from the ALP put some legal question to him (Hipkins) around citizenship, no mention was made of anyone’s name, no rationale for any particular case being pursued was ever raised".

So what did Labour do wrong in asking for clarification of questions New Zealand government bodies should surely have been prepared to answer in the abstract?

It's not like this is a Labour person committing a crime, using taxpayer funds to hush it up, and telling porkies about it to the public.

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Hint: think Trump. Russia. Interference.

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Yes, like Putin, Ms Bishop is interfering in a NZ election, with threats in this case. Clearly would prefer the do nothing Nat's in power so they can push through whatever they like against NZ citizens in Australia like they have been doing.
I'm sure Malcolm's buddy JK probably had a word if he could help out.

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Julie Bishop priority is the security and defence of Australia. An insecure, compromised or New Zealand occupied or loyal to an enemy of Australia threatens, Australia. New Zealanders have generally open access to Australia at least as tourists and even a small boat can cross the tasman and land in ports or areas with dubious effective surveilance and immigration control.
PM Turnbull and his Deputy Bishop clearly and probably correctly percieve the current Bill English government as less internationally focused and western focused than the Key one and would expect an Jacinda Arden governmnet to be a socialist one, giving low priority ot defence and lower piority to immigration and border control.
The current Liberal Government in Australia will regard Jacinda as a folower and important staffer of Heeln Clark and a politician like her lkely to be too open to China and spend too little on defence and have a rather partisan attitude to Australia
This week NZ has seperated its foreign policy from Australia by failing to matching its commitment to demand downgrading of the North Korean nuclear weapons programmes and for them to give their people human rights.
Turnbull and Bishop will be testing Jacinda as whether she supports Australia defence interests and the west and indeed whether she is intested in them. They would percieve the NZALP Arden led oppostion as electable but an undesirable move left. The evidence that NZLP mi rank MP Hipkins would interfere and possibly aid the ALP forcing an election is unfortunate and not necessarily unintentional at Hipkins llevel.

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So the National Government did not support Aussie over its North Korean stance, so this creates a concern about Labour. Re China, the Key government has pushed that hard, as have the Aussies - nothing is going to change with a change in the political parties.

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If Hipkins didn't realise what was going on his crime is being the naivest idiot in parliament. As if everybody interested in politics hasn't heard whats been going on over the ditch. Claiming he didn't know is just lies.

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He probably didn't know. He likely suspected.

Quite different to Bill's knowledge of Barclay's goings-on versus what he claimed to know.

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So clarifying points of NZ law is now a terrible thing. Nice.

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The only criminal here is Barnaby Joyce the Aussie politician

If the Australian Government was consistent they would deport this New Zealand criminal back to NZ

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"But both Mr Hipkins and Ms Ardern say Mr Hipkins had no idea who was involved when he submitted the questions last week." Dollars to donuts, Mr Hipkins knew it wasn't a about party MP or ally.

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So what if he did? Go play gotcha somewhere else or grow up!

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"Ms Ardern also confirmed that it was an Australian Labor Party staffer who made contact with Mr Hipkins to ask the question, not an MP and not Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten." It turns out the staffer (Marcus Ganley) was a former staffer in Helen Clarks office (didnt Jacinda work there at the same time )....sorry dont buy the accidental, didnt know what this was about...bit to close to the Darren Hughes excuses from Annette King.

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And if they did? Who cares? They could have consulted an immigration lawyer, read the statute books or probably googled it on the internet? Where's the conspiracy? People like you make politics in New Zealand really boring.

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Then why didn't Hipkins consult those very same sources instead of what he did. Naive no, calculated yes.

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Is this the same Mr Hipkins who wants to close charter schools because the state (and teachers' unions) should be the only education provider but is quite happy with preschool and tertiary education being provided by the private sector?

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Charter Schools were concession to get the Act Party vote. This election there is an opportunity to get rid of both.

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Because we can't have anyone supporting less government involvement in our lives can we! The State knows best and can run everything best - just like in Venezuela!

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Venezuela! Stalinism! Communists!

I too can shout out random silly buzzwords!

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The Australians could have obtained that information a number of sources. Hipkins did nothing worthy of censure. Ardern does herself no credit in this. Who is she backing anyway? A right-of-centre government in Australia or her own colleague?

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Chris Hipkins just proving why hes not up to being a government minister along with his other labour collegues!

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Really? Should he be showing more loyalty to the Australian coalition government. Would that then qualify him?

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So let me get this right - the Aussie government is slagging off Labour and by implication telling people to vote National? They should piss off and concentrate on running their own country..

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Dunno, National voters here seem pretty happy to have the Australian government telling NZers how to vote. Maybe they just like to have a foreign power dictating things to NZ?

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They have a problematic glitch in their constitution. Tough. It does seem quite appropriate that NZ citizenship is such a thorn in the side of an Australian Govt that has continued a long-term policy of disadvantaging and disenfranchising NZers living there, and particularly their children.

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People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones
Let the games begin
Dinner & a show for NZ public

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Jacinda's problem is her caucus is full of folks like Hipkins. And its hard to believe she's only just realised this.

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On the other hand, she has the benefit of NOT having Nick Smith.

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Bring on the Bledisloe...

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This is not about Hipkins. Its that a New Zealander should not meddle in another countries politics, much as we would not want any outsider to meddle in ours. See the replies above to the comments from Julie Bishop. Certainly glass houses. What Hipkins has shown he is not a worthy recipient of the trust from those who voted for him

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Guess what, the guy in question is actually a New Zealand citizen in an Ozzy parliament! These guys can blame NZ Labour all they want but you don't get to becoming a Deputy PM without all the checks and balances having been carried out.

How easy it is to blame someone for a situation you find yourself in hey!!!!

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True, whatever happened to personal responsibility and standing on one's own two feet?

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Jeeze I hope we win Bledisloe 1 that will really rub it in.
Last year Spy Gate this year Doofas Hipkins

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May the good Lord bless our soul - if we get a Labour government, heaven forbid, is this the sort of stupid people who expect to be ministers in any new government?
These sort of people from darling Jacinda downwards, are not streetwise, politically savvy, or anything remotely approaching that - may the good Lord help us all !!

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Maybe people are sick of "slick" politicans that cannot remember things when it suits - e.g. Bill English and Todd Barclay.

Hipkins was in my view dumb, but no dumber than others have been.

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Looks like Jacinda has inherited more than an electorate from Aunty Helen. Has she signed/not signed any paintings for auction yet?

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Is he an nz citizen just because he is eligible for nz citizenship?
This is a genuine oversight on his part so presumably he can renounce any claim to nz citizenship and get on with his life.

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I don't think it is a question of being eligible, the NZ law seems to state that he is a citizen automatically. Maybe just for fun Fiji should pass a law that says anyone elected to Australian Parliament is a Citizen of Fiji......that would send them into a spin.

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I see, so the Nasty Party (NZ Labour) is in full on dirty politics mode. No surprises there. The depths of hypocrisy that the Left in this country will sink to knows absolutely no bounds.

They haven't even being elected to Government yet but their incompetence has already caused an international incident and degraded the trust and closeness between ourselves and our closest friend and neigbour, Australia, and at a time of heightened international tensions.

Julie Bishop is quite right to warn New Zealand about Labour and its untrustworthiness. An unprecedented warning from a foreign country to the New Zealand people, another example of it I simply cannot think of in my lifetime. They clearly see the danger that the Labour Party poses to New Zealand.

Just look at Labour's tax policies. They are going to introduce all sorts of new taxes but they won't be honest with the New Zealand public about what those taxes are and how much they will be.

I can only hope that New Zealanders will take the Australian's warning seriously.

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What a load of rubbish. Bishop did it to divert attention. Maybe she should spend more time fixing the mess they are in than worrying about NZ politics.

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Your rose colour tines have only one side to them, I see.

While Bill's memory fades get worse and worse (can someone with dementia govern?), and with a crew that includes Judith Collins of Dirty Politics fame - Cam Slater, Carrick Graham and other hangers on included - and all you can see is dirty commies out to get you.

Strewth mate, you need to brush up on goings on.

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Ms Bishop says she would find it very hard to build trust with those involved. Hah. Laughable given they continually make disadvantageous rules affecting NZ citizens, without any discussion with our government. But I guess they do know they are dealing with the "do nothing" Nat's so they can get away with anything.

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Why all the faux outrage? It's not as if this revelation turns Mr Barnaby Joyce into a deportee. If it brings down the government then it's a constitutional crisis, hardly Mr Hipkins' fault
A neat solution might be for the Australians to replace s44 of their Constitution with something modelled on the eligibilty rules they apply to State of Origin matches.

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Wave your Magic Wand Princess Jacinda oh dear it's stooped working

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Just demonstrates how inept & ill prepared the Labour caucus is to run a country. Off to the naughty seat Hipkins & hope this wipes the stupid smirk of your mug.

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Yes really inept. They should do as National does, as in nothing, ever, no matter what Australia comes up with against NZ's living there, and then shake their hands after it, and say what great pals we are.

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Nothing? I seem to recall the Queensland govt just copped a serve from the Australian Trade Minister (after a visit from his NZ counterpart) about in appropriately biasing local firms.

I also seem to recall English harshly criticising the Australian Govt decision around University Fees on NZers and said NZ would be forced to reciprocate.

Do you think the ruling Liberals are just as likely to listen to Ardern or Hipkins if they were to protest? Certainly less likely now.

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Lol your two examples in year 9 with an election looming.
English harshly criticising to whom? A journalists microphone?
What result did he achieve for these NZ university students?
So upset he was that he sent Jerry over who accomplished nothing, other than standing in a corner tight lipped while Julie Bishop rattled on about ANZAC relationships. Jerry then shook Julie Bishop's hand weakly, and caught the first flight back tail firmly between his legs.

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He could have gone with the I know nothing stance made ever popular by John Key and now Bill English. Bill I can't recall talking to the police re a potential criminal act by one of my team.

The issue with Joyce was coming out regardless. Of course English tried to bury the Barclay affair.

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Geez, Labour's REALLY worried about this judging by the Labour troll bots invading the internet.
And so they should be. Ardern is WAY out of her depth as is her muppet caucus.

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Agree. If quoted correctly "The Labour leader says she would have been happy to call Ms Bishop herself but she didn’t have her number",. Is this the same person who wants to run NZ and she can't even find a phone number!!!!!!. really??

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Well Bill has trouble finding texts on his phone. 450 of them!!!!!!!! Really??

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But he has two phones......oh right no he has one phone....oh who knows.

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Lol. Bill is somewhat geographically challenged as well.
He is known to struggle at times recollecting where his principal place of residence is. Even despite he and his family residing in a place for many years.
His geographical displacement seems to affect him most when there is more taxpayer funded benefits to be had.

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Send B Joyce to Manus Island, or deport him to NZ.
Unwittingly he has broken the law. BTW the law is an ass.
The old saying : we know you are wit but what kind of wit" applies.
I suggest that NZ can send you a certain " S Joyce" in his place under a bilateral agreement. Best of both worlds !
" Increase the IQ's of both countries! "
attributed to the right hon R.D Muldoon
What it reveals is the White Australia Policy is alive and well and that
OZ needs to review its constitution and acknowledge that the world is a bigger place than the white Australia of colonial history.
Aborigines were classed as " fauna' in Queensland until 1964.
Wake up to the real world! Australia.

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My goodness, the hypocrisy and double standards of some National supporters in these comments is breathtaking.

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have I missed something, was it not an aussie journalist broke this story as they obtained the answer before the written question was answered.
the other thing it highlights to me is the underlying prejudice towards kiwis from the Australians, at least now its out in the open for all to see and not just those living in Australia that deal with it every day

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It's ridiculous to point the finger at Hipkins. His question could be answered through a number of sources without involving parliamentary time, so no harm was done at all by Hipkins. That's not to say he doesn't deserve a severe thrashing, because he does, but that's for being a member of the current dismal Labour lot.

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Not surprised NZ's most important ally and trade partner doesn't trust its little neighbour much. NZ blew its special visa-free relationship by allowing so many Chinese (and Indians) to stop by and pick up an NZ passport to enter Oz by the backdoor. If anyone's to blame it's the NZ people. They voted in Clarke and Key three times each, covering nearly two decades, all the while turning a blind eye to the mass immigration that both governments actively promoted. No sympathy. Reap what you sow.

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