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English clarifies US travel ban effects here

The prime minister says Kiwis with dual citizenship won't be affected by Trump's travel ban.

Jason Walls
Wed, 01 Feb 2017

Prime Minister Bill English believes New Zealand citizens who have dual citizenship with seven countries being targeted by the US for a 90-day ban will not be affected. 

Although Mr English says he disagrees with the US policy, he does not think it will dampen New Zealand/US relations.  

Speaking before National’s all-day caucus at Premier House, Mr English told reporters New Zealand officials have been working hard to clarify how the travel ban affects Kiwis.

He says people with dual citizenship won’t have problems when travelling to the US if they have a visa and if the US officials “follow the proper policy.”

“We don’t see any reason why someone who is a New Zealander with dual citizenship for any of those seven countries should have any problems.”

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order over the weekend which temporarily suspended entry into the US for seven majority Muslim countries.

The US embassy in Wellington had previously confirmed that New Zealand – along with other “five-eyes” country member – would be exempt from the travel ban.

But Mr English clarified that it is in fact not an exemption but is part of the US administration’s policy.

He says it had been frustrating that there has been such an information gap but this has been a frustration shared by “pretty much every country in the world.”

“It has taken a number of days for the US administration to clarify the policy. Our officials have had direct contact with [US] officials and we’re advised this morning a statement would be put up.”

Mr English reiterated that he did not agree with the policy and his government would not implement this type of policy here.

“We don’t want some of the debate going on around it to create division in New Zealand,” he says.

He adds that it is important that New Zealand maintains a positive relationship with the US and says he does not expect New Zealand’s relationship with the US to deteriorate because of the disagreement of the policy.

“There is a long history of New Zealand disagreeing with the US over policy, going right back the Vietnam War in the 1950s,” he says.

“That doesn’t change the need for a small country, a positive relationship with the US. I think you can do that at the same time as disagreeing with some of the policies.”

Jason Walls
Wed, 01 Feb 2017
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English clarifies US travel ban effects here