TRANS-TASMAN INEQUALITIES: New Zealand Labour Party leader David Cunliffe has used a speech to the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum to underscore Australia’s institutional and policy-driven inequalities that impact on expatriate Kiwis.
In recent years there has been much publicity on this side of the ditch about how Kiwis working and making a life for themselves in Australia are denied equal rights and access to services.
Pressure has mounted on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to address the issue, but he failed to persuade both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd while they held the prime ministership.
Now, the NZ Labour Party’s new leader, David Cunliffe, has committed to doing something about it.
In the speech delivered in Sydney Cunliffe said: For all sorts of historical reasons, New Zealanders living in Australia are not treated equivalently to Australians living in New Zealand.
Australians studying in New Zealand can access New Zealand’s student support payments after two years, while most New Zealanders studying in Australia cannot access equivalent Commonwealth payments at all.
New Zealanders living in Australia must pay for public disability insurance, but most cannot access any if they become disabled.
Australians living in New Zealand pay into our ACC system and can access it if the need arises.
The comments reflect a growing view in NZ that our Australian cousins celebrate ANZAC Day but institutionally and through Government policy give Kiwis the cold shoulder.
The New Zealand Herald this morning reported Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott as saying his Government is unlikely to remove discrimination against expatriate Kiwis. Abbott’s comments came after John Key raised the issue in inter-government bilateral talks in Canberra last month.
For more, read the statement on ForeignAffairs.co.nz.