A press release from the New Zealand Labour Party
19 February 2016
Giving some New Zealanders an easier path to citizenship in Australia is a step in the right direction but John Key must now work hard to restore the reciprocal rights Kiwis once enjoyed, Labour’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman David Shearer says.
After much pressure by Labour MPs, groups in Australia and others, Malcolm Turnbull has begrudgingly allowed a shorter pathway to citizenship for about 30 percent of the Kiwis contributing to the Australian economy.
That is some good news after a long, concerted campaign which saw three Labour MPs including leader Andrew Little trek across the Tasman to argue for better rights last year.
This small shift will affect about 70,000 to 100,000 of the 300,000 Kiwis living in Australia, and only those who have earned over $53,000 per year for a five year period. John Key must ensure this change applies to all new arrivals, and not only those who are currently there.
There is still a wide inequity in the way New Zealanders generally are treated across the Tasman including the fact we have no access to social services despite paying taxes there.
In that respect we are still treated as second class citizens while Australians here enjoy full rights to voting after one year in the country plus access to most social services on arrival.
This small concession should be just the start in restoring a more equal relationship with Australia,” David Shearer says.