Jacinda Ardern promises to raise deportation gripe with Australia 'as long as it exists'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is promising to keep voicing her disagreement with Australia's controversial deportation policy as long as it exists. 

Her comments came after Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton described a planeload of deportees to New Zealand as "trash", according to Australia's 9 News. 

The flight from Brisbane, bound for Auckland, was reportedly full of people who had committed crimes in Australia. They were hounded from across the tarmac by a journalist who asked how it felt to be deported. 

"Our country doesn't want you, are you excited to go home?" the reporter asked a handcuffed woman being escorted by two guards holding her. 

The woman replied: "F**k off."

Ardern has more than once raised the issue of deportees being sent from Australia to New Zealand because in many cases, they have no family or connections to return to. 

"No one will be unaware of New Zealand's position and certainly mine that I've presented many a time, including in our last face-to-face meetings together with the Australian leadership," she told reporters on Thursday. 

"Everyone will be aware of our view. It's strongly held."

Standing alongside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney last year, Ardern urged Australia to "not deport your people and your problems" to New Zealand. 

Morrison said he had no intention of changing the policy. He said it is "not directed to any one country or any one nationality whatsoever", and that Kiwis would not get any special treatment. 

Ardern acknowledged that Australia is within its rights. 

"The Australian Government is within their rights to do what they're doing. It just so happens that we strongly disagree with it," she said. "On this issue we've been totally consistent. The Australian leadership is very aware of our view on it and it hasn't changed."

But Ardern didn't want to get into a "tit for tat" with Australia. 

"Despite the fact that we've held that view for a very long time and voiced that very strongly, it hasn't changed the fact that we still have a very strong relationship," she said. 

"There is no breakdown in our relationship at all. We have an excellent relationship with our counterparts in Australia and indeed myself, with PM Morrison, we speak frequently and we work together often. It just so happens on this issue we strongly disagree."

Ardern held back from criticising Dutton for referring to the deportations as the country "taking out the trash". 

"I've taken the same view for a very long time over Australia's deportation of individuals who in some cases we consider very much to be Australian."

But the Prime Minister isn't giving up. 

"I don't think it's a matter of if it's a matter you see as unjust you just give up on it. We will continue to raise it so long as it exists."

There is a protocol for deportees - known as 501s after a section of the Australian Migrant Act that enforces deportations - to spend time in managed isolation when they arrive in New Zealand. 

"There are very particular arrangements that are made for 501s and we've had those in place for some time," Ardern said, referring to a facility set up to take them, as reported in July. 

It's not the only deportation issue Ardern has a gripe with.  

The Prime Minister accused Australia of "abdicating its responsibilities" last month after New Zealand was forced to deal with a detainee accused of terrorism, who was arrested at the Turkish border.

The woman once had dual Kiwi-Australian citizenship until the latter was revoked, leaving New Zealand to deal with her. Ardern lashed out at Australia for revoking the woman's citizenship because she spent most of her life in Australia.