NZ’s Ardern OK with Joyce despite history | Ralph Lauren

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Jacinda Ardern says she’s happy to work with former Kiwi and New Zealand-antagonist Barnaby Joyce as the Nationals firebrand again takes the role of Australia’s deputy prime minister.

Mr Joyce won a Nationals partyroom vote in Canberra on Monday to oust Michael McCormack as leader of the regional party, and will soon become Scott Morrison’s deputy in the coalition government.

Ms Ardern may have reason to be troubled by his return, given Mr Joyce’s troubled history with her party and government.

In 2017, Ms Ardern’s Labour party used questions in NZ parliament to help uncover Mr Joyce’s latent New Zealand citizenship, which forced the New England MP to resign his seat.

Mr Joyce renounced his Kiwi roots and returned to Canberra in a by-election.

Just a week after his re-election, he attacked Ms Ardern’s government over its long-standing offer to resettle 150 refugees from Australia’s offshore mandatory detention regime, saying New Zealand should “stay away from another country’s business”.

And last year, from the backbench, Mr Joyce labelled NZ a “climate hypocrite” for using carry over carbon credits from past years to meet Kyoto Protocol emission reduction targets.

Mr Joyce is an ardent supporter of coal, favouring new coal-fired power stations.

Ms Ardern said she “definitely wouldn’t be drawn” on her history with Mr Joyce, and it wouldn’t get in the way of a healthy future relationship.

“My role as prime minister in New Zealand is to work constructively with whomever is in a democratically elected government in any other country at any given time and that is what I will do,” she said.

“We won’t always agree. Sometimes we will. But that’s my job.”

Mr Joyce’s return comes at a time when Australia and NZ have reportedly begun talks over refugee resettlement, an offer first made by John Key to Julia Gillard in 2013.

Back in 2017, he suggested Australian retaliation would follow should NZ Labour continue to promote the resettlement.

“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,” he told Newstalk ZB.



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