Between Monday and Wednesday, a delegation of Oz Kiwi Committee members and volunteers were in Canberra. Each day, we travelled to Parliament House and met with a variety of MPs, Senators, and advisors, raising the issues facing New Zealanders in Australia.
In each of these meetings, we outlined some of the problems with current policies and proposed policy solutions, emphasising the need for a comprehensive solution that allows New Zealanders to apply for Australian citizenship and gain full equality.
Overwhelmingly we received a positive response. Almost all of the parliamentarians with whom we met recognised there were serious problems and encouraged us to further develop policy proposals to resolve them. We fully intend to do this and hope to have our proposals costed (both in terms of their cost to the budget and potential positive economic impact) in the coming months.
While nothing can be certain in the parliamentary process, there are positive signs that at least a couple of issues may be able to be sorted out over the next year. In these cases, parliamentarians have stated they are willing to take up our case and bring relevant legislation before parliament.
A more comprehensive solution will take longer. However, we have been reassured by a number of parliamentarians that this is very much achievable. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised by just how many MPs and Senators were supportive of this and favoured it over a more piecemeal approach.
Another Oz Kiwi delegation will be in Canberra next week and we hope that with this will continue to build a coalition of MPs and Senators who will push for a fair pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders in Australia.
While we have have undoubtedly made good progress already, it is clear Oz Kiwi volunteers will need to travel to Canberra many more times to keep pushing our message and achieve the change we all want.
Oz Kiwi volunteers have covered all of their own expenses for the current round of travel to Canberra, including transport, accommodation, and meals – these have amounted to many hundreds of dollars per person.
With the amount of work that will be required over the coming years, we cannot expect our volunteers to continue to dip into their own pockets in this way. We therefore encourage you to make a donation to Oz Kiwi, so, in future, we can at least subsidise some of these expenses.
By donating, you will be helping us a find a solution that will hopefully bring security and certainty for all New Zealanders in Australia and their families.
Oz Kiwi is a volunteer organisation and relies entirely on public donations to fund its work. Every donation, no matter how small, helps to support change.