20 years on from 26 February 2001

John Howard Prime Minister of Australia between 1996 and 2007 (Photo: Greg Ward, AFP)

The 26th February 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Howard government revoking the rights of New Zealanders under social security and citizenship laws. The changes stripped Special Category Visa-holders (SCVs) of eligibility for citizenship and working age social security payments.

Subsequent law changes have seen most New Zealanders denied access to student loans and services under the National Disability Insurance scheme (NDIS).

SCV-holders who were in Australia on 26 February 2001 or resided in Australia for at least 12 months in the preceding two years were protected and thus exempt from these changes.

How you can help

If you don’t have a pathway to citizenship, or are denied access to services, contact your Federal MP or Senator:

  • let them know it’s been 18 years since the 2001 changes
  • explain how you or your family have been impacted
  • tell them about your family’s commitment to Australia
  • ask if they support a fair pathway to citizenship for all New Zealanders

You can:

  • write to them using our writing to your MP letter template
  • meet with them, or a staff member, at their electorate office
  • call their electorate office or Parliament House office
  • message them via email or their website
  • post a comment on their Facebook or Twitter

See our Get Involved page for more information about how you can help raise awareness of the issues.


Oz Kiwi is run by volunteers and entirely funded by public donations. Please consider donating to help Oz Kiwi lobby on behalf of New Zealanders living in Australia.

Thank you for your support.

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