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Govt defends response to US travel ban

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/01/2017 Sean Martin

New Zealand is not scared about upsetting the United States by criticising on President Donald Trump's travel ban, despite claims it was not going far enough to decry the policy.

Prime Minister Bill English stopped short of condemning the 90-day ban and the 120-day suspension of the US refugee programme but said he was against the policy.

"We do want to make it clear we disagree with the policy," he told TVNZ Brekafast.

"We're not scared of anything. What I'm concerned about is the reassurance to people in New Zealand - migrants, refugees - that this is not a track we are going to go down and we do not want them to fell agitated, upset or worried that we could in any way follow this kind of policy."

Labour leader Andrew Little had criticised Mr English for a delayed response to the ban and when it came it was not strong enough.

But Mr English said New Zealand had to work with the United States over the long-term and the in the end it was a matter for the American people who elected Mr Trump.

"I think Mr Trump has got a pretty clear message from the whole world about what people think about his policy."

Mr Trump's executive orders put a 90-day ban on travel to the US by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen.

Mr Trump has justified his moves by saying they're a necessary steps to stop "radical Islamic terrorists" from coming to the US.

They have provoked widespread protests in the US.

Mr English hasn't yet spoken to Mr Trump and NZ Newswire understands arrangements are being made for a phone conversation between the two but details haven't been nailed down.

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