Joyce tells Ardern to butt out

The Herald reports:

Australia’s deputy Prime Minister has sent a less than veiled message to Prime Minister about Manus Island: “Stay away from another country’s business.”

Joyce was sworn in again on December 6 after being forced to go to a byelection because he was found, unwittingly, to have New Zealand citizenship and dual citizens are ineligible to service in the Australian Parliament.

He hinted that what the Australian Government sees as interference in domestic policy could come back to bite her in kind.

Hipkins working on behalf of the ALP to nobble the Deputy PM of Australia was bad enough. But Ardern’s continual advocacy on Manus Island is being seen as political interference also. I doubt there has been such bad blood between the Australian and New Zealand Governments since Muldoon and Fraser.

Joyce said that Australia had a tough policy on boat arrivals to stop the thousands of arrivals and over 1000 drownings of people.

Arrivals by boat have dropped from 50,000 a year to zero. Drownings have dropped from 1,200 or so to zero.

Asked if New Zealand should back off, he said: “I think it’s best if you stay away from another country’s business. I find that’s because others will return the favour at a time that is opportune to them.”

“Let’s respect countries” sovereignty and let the sort out their own issues,” he said.

“And if you are going to talk to them at all, talk to them quietly and discreetly, off the record, not via telephone, not via TV.”

Governments normally work behind the scenes to try and sort issues out. Lecturing our closest friend in public is not a good strategy.

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