Former NZ minister says Australia discriminates against Kiwis

Phil Goff, advocate for Kiwis living in Australia

Former New Zealand Labour Foreign Minister has long been advocating for New Zealanders living in Australia. In 2012 he was interviewed by the ABC about the issues.

Former NZ minister says Australia discriminates against Kiwis

10 October 2012

A former New Zealand foreign minister says he’s prepared to fly to Australia to appeal directly to the government over what he says is discrimination against New Zealanders.

Opposition Labour Party spokesman of foreign affairs Phil Goff says Kiwis in Australia are being denied a path to citizenship, contrary to claims by the Australian government of equal treatment.

Mr Goff told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that New Zealanders are the only group living permanently in Australia that are denied the rights of permanent residency.

“We’re approaching the centenary of the ANZAC tradition yet New Zealanders are singled out as being the only group that can live permanently in Australia, that work hard, that pay their taxes but are denied the same things that every other permanent resident of Australia can take for granted,” Mr Goff said.

“In New Zealand we continue to treat Australians living permanently in New Zealand with exactly the same rights as Kiwis.”

A spokesman for Australia’s Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, says many Kiwis mistakenly believe that their right to live and work in Australia automatically qualifies them for citizenship, but their special category visa is still temporary.

Mr Goff says New Zealanders are not going to Australia to “bludge”, but to work.

He says Kiwis have a higher rate of participation in the labour market than any other migrant group to Australia and Australians themselves.

Mr Goff says he has raised the matter with New Zealand’s government, and is also willing to travel to Australia to talk with Minister Bowen and Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr.

“I’ll go there and make the case myself to people on both sides of the political fence…just to say this is about a fair go, this is about an ANZAC tradition, this is about trying to achieve a single economic market between our two countries that are so similar,” Mr Goff said.

[Read the ABC article].

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