Your say: Should New Zealanders have the same welfare rights as Australians?

This week, a Starts at 60 community member wrote into us to tell us about an major issue they see in Australian society. They are a New Zealander who has lived in Australia for years and they told us this:

Ad. Article continues below.

“Some families have been here for 15 years working full time, purchasing homes (and sending children to university means having to be classed an “overseas” student) and contributing to the tax and welfare systems with absolutely NO ENTITLEMENTS to anything with the exception of Medicare.

Those arriving into this country from New Zealand are on a Special Category Visa. As an example, if your child is born in Australia to New Zealand parents who arrived after 2001 then there is no assistance whatsoever for children if they are special needs or require special full time care etc.

I know in Victoria, New Zealand university students (whilst they reside in Australia with parents living here) are not allowed student concessions for rides on public vehicles.

There are so many matters that seriously need to be dealt with. Surely after living here for 10 years and never claiming one cent of welfare and contributing to the community we live in we should be able to apply for permanent residency and then citizenship.

There are many matters that are so discriminatory and we have to sit by and see others let into this country who do not even want to blend into society.

In New Zealand, Australians are permanent residents as soon as they arrive and after two years can apply for Citizenship and are entitled to ALL benefits after 6 months arriving into New Zealand. There are a lot of Australians living and working in New Zealand as well”.

New Zealanders in Australia rights activist David Faulkner told Radio Australia last week that there is “overwhelming evidence” that New Zealand citizens are being subject to endemic discrimination in Australia. Since 2001, the Australian Government has enforced a special category visa for New Zealanders which restricts their access to welfare payments and other social services. While they are free to live in Australia permanently, they cannot have the same rights as Australians born here, meaning if New Zealanders need support for disabilities and so on, they can be ineligible.

What do you think? Should New Zealanders be treated or Australians, or should they just appreciate being able to live her? Tell us below.