So, in what should be a surprise to absolutely no one, we are taking back an alleged ISIS terror suspect and her children. Why?
Because we snoozed, and we lost.
ScoMo snookered us. Australia was first out of the blocks in revoking this woman’s citizenship – she had both Australian and NZ citizenship, but she hadn’t lived here since she was 6.
When she was captured on the Syrian border and detained by Turkey for deportation, Australia promptly revoked her citizenship so she couldn’t go back there.
They did this on the basis of her travelling to Syria on an Australian passport in 2014 to join ISIS.
In doing so, Australia deftly dumped the problem right on our doorstep. Remember that? Jacinda Ardern was furious, she huffed and puffed at Scott Morrison and in her words, “made very strong representations to Australia” that they should take this woman back, not make it our problem.
Australia ignored her. They’d already gotten in first; they’d already bailed on it and exposed our government as being asleep at the wheel.
When Ardern was asked at the time if she would therefore accept this Australia-NZ citizen and take her back as our problem, Ardern gave her best aggrieved facial contortion and said “Well, there’s children involved.”
What we in effect know now, is that of course we were going to take them back.
Justifying it with the, ‘but there are children involved’ line, was merely buttering us up for the inevitable.
So yesterday, Cabinet officially announced a ‘managed return’ of this 26 year old and her two kids.
What does that mean? Who’s managing it? What’s that costing? How long are they managing it for? Who’s taking responsibility? Where is she being managed? Where are the numbers on this? What are we paying to manage an alleged ISIS terrorist to come back here and make NZ her home after a 20 year absence?
I notice the statement from Ardern yesterday also included her tried and true line about the kids again. “We have taken into account our international responsibilities as well as the details of this particular case, including the fact that children are involved,” she said.
This is Marketing 101.
If you have a winning line you think is effective, keep using it.
So, apparently, she’ll be managed in a way that “minimises any risk for New Zealanders.”
Really? How can you guarantee that?
Let’s just hope for all our sakes, that they don’t employ more of their ‘high trust’ model here.
Because when it comes to this government’s ‘kindness programme,’ I think extending it now to terrorists is a bridge too far.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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