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New Zealand slams Australia for revoking citizenship of dual national suspected of terror

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses supporters at a Labor Party event in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 11, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Australia is “abdicating its responsibilities” by revoking the Australian citizenship of a terrorist suspect detained in Turkey.

Turkish authorities said on Monday they had arrested a 26-year-old woman alleged to be a member of the Daesh terrorist group with her two children while trying to enter Turkey illegally from Syria.

The woman was a dual citizen of New Zealand and Australia until the Australian government revoked her citizenship.

“We believe Australia has abdicated its responsibilities,” Ardern said on Tuesday, noting that the woman had resided in Australia with her family since she was six, and left for Syria on her Australian passport.

“New Zealand, frankly, is tired of having Australia exporting its problems,” she said, urging Canberra to shoulder its responsibility in that regard.

“If the shoe were on the other foot, we would take responsibility, that would be the right thing to do and I ask Australia to do the same,” Ardern said.

Speaking at a news conference in Canberra on Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended his government’s decision and said it served Australia’s national security interests.

“The legislation that was passed through our parliament automatically cancels the citizenship of a dual citizen where they’ve been engaged in terrorist activities,” Morrison told reporters.

Morrison added that he would speak with Ardern later on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

New Zealand has been at odds with Australia over its policy of deporting people convicted of committing crimes to their country of birth when that country is New Zealand.

Since 2014, almost 3,000 New Zealanders in Australia have had their visas canceled “on character grounds,” which does not always require a criminal conviction.

Ardern has denounced the policy as “corrosive” to the relations between the two countries.

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