14:15 GMT29 October 2020
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    Barnaby Joyce, Australia's recently re-instated Deputy Prime Minister, has called on New Zealand to not to involve itself in Australia's stance on immigration issues, citing the need for the country to retain control of its own borders.

    In a recent interview with Newstalk ZB, Australian Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce advised New Zealand not to get involved in his country's immigration policy.

    "I think it's best if you stay away from another country's business," Joyce said.

    Joyce went on to reiterate the necessity for a country to control its own borders, lest that power be handed over to "criminals."

    "If you allow other people to make those arrangements, what you're doing is handing your immigration policy across to criminals," Joyce said.

    The statements follow in the wake of a recent crisis surrounding a former Australian offshore detention center on the Papua New Guinea island of Manus. The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea had ordered the facility to be closed, whereupon several hundred detainees refused to leave, barricading themselves inside the facility. However by the end of November, all remaining refugees had been successfully resettled.

    New Zealand has had a standing offer since 2013 to resettle some 150 migrants from Australia's offshore detention centers. This was recently reiterated by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Australia has consistently declined the offer, most recently citing a larger resettlement deal with the United States.

    Relations between the two states have been strained recently due to differences between the Australian Liberal-led coalition's policies, and those of the new Labor-led government in New Zealand.

    READ MORE: 'So Scary': Papua New Guinean Officials Start Destroying Manus Island Shelters

    In August, the eligibility of several Australian parliamentarians was called into question over allegations of dual citizenship, including Barnaby Joyce, who was later confirmed to be a New Zealand citizen by descent. An October decision by the Australian High Court ruled him ineligible, prompting a by-election in his home electoral division.

    The crisis sparked a row between Australia and the New Zealand Labor Party, then in opposition, with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop accusing them of being "involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia." The subsequent by-election saw Joyce renounce his New Zealand citizenship and return to his previous duties as Deputy PM.


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