Peters and justice minister Andrew Little effectively echoed each other’s sentiment earlier this month, on the back of a rise in the deportation of long-term Australian residents who are not citizens. This has taken place since 2014, on the grounds of “character”.
“The reality is we want New Zealanders to get the same treatment an Aussie would get if they were being charged with an offence. That is a trial, before you’re booted off shore. There has never been a time since 1945 that our two countries have needed each other more,” said Peters recently.
“And, I really mean it. We’ve got security of all the Pacific to look at. We are senior nations with a chance to shape the Pacific and its security and its wealth. We’d better be mindful of our relationships between ourselves.”
Peters is standing in for prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who is on maternity leave, and was referencing the case of Ko Haapu, who was living in Perth when the laws were passed three years ago.
An ex-New Zealand soldier, Haapu was deemed to be of good enough character to join the personal security detail of then Kiwi prime minister John Key, during 2010’s Afghanistan visit.
Haapu was later arrested, not charged, but deported after his involvement in the Rebels motorcycle gang. The gang, though notorious, is not illegal.
Now, Peters reckons Australia are “copying” the New Zealand flag.
He wants the Aussies to change their flag because it is too similar to the Kiwis’.
“We had a flag that we’ve had for a long time, copied by Australia, and they should actually change their flag and honour the fact that we got there first with this design, being decided by a prime minister and his legacy,” Peters told TVNZ.
Back in 2016, he stated: “One argument used against our flag is that it is too like Australia’s, which borrowed our design in the first place.
“However, since Australian political leaders have recently signed to have their own head of state it is Australia that will have to change its flag, and soon. That will rightly restore our flag to being unique as it was in the beginning.”