A Kiwi actor has slammed Aussies for being “d***s”, saying the country is becoming New Zealand’s “dodgy racist neighbour next door”.
Samoan-born Oscar Kightley, who recently appeared in hit movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople, claims Australia is in close contention for the title of worst human rights abuser of the 21st century.
“Surely it’s time for a quiet word,” he wrote in a searing critique on stuff.co.nz yesterday. “Good mates have to tell each other when they’re being d***s.”
While the actor accepted that New Zealand had not increased its quota of refugees for decades, he said his country still had the “moral high ground” over its old neighbour.
The Aussies he knew were decent and kind, he said, but “to treat people like this is not only un-Australian, but inhuman.”
His scathing criticism follow the leak of thousands of incident reports from Nauru detention centre, which uncovered a shocking pattern of alleged abuse and mistreatment of immigrants, and caused the immigration policy to be questioned.
Mr Kightley is not alone in his views as the chasm between Australia and its cousins across the ditch widens.
Timothy Gassin, chairman of advocacy group Oz Kiwi, told news.com.au that New Zealanders had been growing increasingly disillusioned with the relationship between the two countries for the past 15 years.
“Australians are still treated pretty well in New Zealand, but there’s been a gradual erosion of Kiwis’ rights in Australia,” he said.
“There’s a lot of rhetoric about Australia and New Zealand being family … politicians are always gushing, but people are feeling this isn’t reality. Australians always try to drive a hard bargain.”
His group regularly hears from Kiwis in Australia who are having problems with access to disability services, support for single mothers, basic services for women fleeing domestic violence and university access.
“This has put a bit of a wedge between the two countries,” he said. “Australia being the meaner country.”
Almost 200 Kiwis are locked up in immigration detention centres in Australia, more than any other nationality, with more held offshore.
Mr Gassin says commentary about the Anzac bond is “ringing a bit hollow” and predicts: “We may see more in future years questioning the relationship between the countries.”