Ardern firm on crackdown for Aust students

NZ PM-designate Jacinda Ardern stands by comments to change university access rights for Australians in NZ. (Photo: Sky News).

22 October 2017

New Zealand’s Prime Minister-designate Jacinda Ardern has told Sky News she is prepared to stand by comments that she would change university access rights for Australians living in New Zealand.

Ms Ardern made the comments during the election campaign in response to New Zealanders living in Australia losing access to cheap tertiary study.

While she hopes the issue can be resolved, Ms Ardern warned there would be flow-on effects if a resolution could not be reached.

‘If we do find that New Zealanders aren’t able to access tertiary education in the same way that Australians students currently do then there will be flow on effects here,’ she said.

‘I hope it doesn’t come to that, I hope that we have that degree of mutual policy and access that we have had in the past.’

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has congratulated Ms Ardern, who says she hopes to travel across the Tasman to meet with Mr Turnbull soon.

She also intends to stick with the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations as long as she can limit foreign investment in New Zealand housing.

‘Our view has been that there has to be a balance between delivering for our exporters but also making sure we can protect the ability of New Zealanders to buy homes,’ she said.

Ms Ardern says homelessness, child poverty and having wages that match inflation would be some of the new measures for the new government.

She said the Labour-New Zealand First-Greens coalition will be active and ‘won’t leave anything to chance’.

‘Wages are not keeping up with inflation (and) and how can you claim you’ve been successful when you have growth at roughly 3 per cent, but you have the worst homelessness in the developed world?’

Real measures that the public can rate the government on are important, Ms Ardern said, citing improved waterways, child poverty, homelessness and building 10,000 new homes every year to judge them on.

She also said there would be compromise on Labour’s desire for the minimum wage to be raised to $16.50 and New Zealand’s First to have it at $20.

‘We have common ground and you will see change in this area.’

Ms Ardern said despite there being three parties in a coalition, things have come a long way since MMP began in 1996, and there was confidence this would be an ‘effective and efficient’ government.

Watch the Jacinda Ardern Sky News interview

[Sky News article no longer available online].

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