Let’s talk: Should New Zealanders have the same welfare rights as Aussies?

This weekend just passed, a Starts at 60 community member wrote to us to tell us about an major issue
Let's Talk

This weekend just passed, a Starts at 60 community member wrote to 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 feel they and others like them need to be heard:

“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”.

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.

Just last week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with NZ PM John Key to discuss these issues and came to an agreement.

Under the new rules, New Zealanders in Australia on special category visas earning more than $A53,000 a year for five years would be eligible for what he called the new pathway to citizenship, reports Radio NZ.

Right now, there are more than 300,000 New Zealanders living in Australia on those visas.

But a spokesperson for the group Oz Kiwi, Timothy Gassin, said the changes would not help many New Zealanders in Australia struggling to live because they could not get the same benefits as citizens.

“Realistically, if this doesn’t help everyone it’s not a solution,” he said. “That includes people with disabilities, single mothers and people in low income categories”.

Mr Key said the new pathway option was a very positive step. “It takes place up to today, effectively if someone came here yesterday to Australia, then they could work through over the next five years and apply,” he said.

Another law change has resulted in hundreds of New Zealand criminals having their visas cancelled.
Under the new laws, anyone who has served a prison sentence of 12 months or more in Australia and was not a citizen can be deported. Non-citizens without criminal convictions could also have visas cancelled on character grounds.

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

  1. I am in 2 minds on this issue, part of me says yes if they pay taxes here, the other part say No because they want to cut back on welfare for Australians and if New Zealanders are added to the mix they will cut Australians back harder. I wish you luck but with the current Government we have I don’t fancy your chances

    • Eight out of ten Aussies are working to pay for people on benefits. No extras needed. People need to work more.

    • Agree David, maybe harsh but listen to everyone on here complaining and rightly so in many cases, but where on earth does all this money come from?

      • Rachel Rush  

        Money doesn’t come from rich businesses cause they don’t pay the rightful tax. Believe it it us the poor helping the poor.

    • graham priest  

      I have no problem with no benefits or citizenship so long as we don’t have to pay taxes to support Aussie bludgers who don’t work or pay taxes

    • It’s not only NZers that are receiving benefits, there is plenty of other cultures receiving them, so why penalise NZers and not the others.

  2. Only after a qualifying period of working here and paying taxes other wise they end up having a paid holiday.

  3. I think the agreements in the two countries should be reciprocal. Aussies rights in NZ should match Kiwis rights in Aussie. If they DON’T match up then NZ ought to cut theirs back to match the treatment of Kiwis in Oz. Come on fair’s fair. We are a smaller country and if NZ can deal well with Australian immigrants Australia ought to be able to return the favour.

    • I don’t think the Australian Government would care, they want to cut pensions and payments to the poor here. I think you might find and I don’t know the numbers, that there are more New Zealanders living in Australia, than Australians living in New Zealand

    • It should not be based on numbers. I am all for Kiwis being sent back home if they break the laws. That should be automatic for ALL immigrants. Break the law and you AND your family return home. However if Aussie does not give Kiwis the same rights as their people get in NZ then NZ ought to rescind the Aussies rights in NZ. They should match up.

    • Fine with me Rosalie , now you convince The Liberal Government of this because it is them who are making the rules at the moment

    • I repeat…. it should mot be based on numbers. We either HAVE a reciprocal agreement or we don’t. The numbers may be greater one way but NZ economy is probably not as good as Oz anyway. Especially at present taking into account the ongoing Christchurch earthquake repairs.

    • Libbi Elliot I realise that however I think it will be highly unlikely that they’d listen to me or ask my opinion. We were asked our opinion on this site so I gave it.

    • Leanna Stephenson and a lot of migrants use n.z. as a way to get to australia. I would like a law to send back law breakers back to there place of birth to stop the cost to house them in our prisons also.

    • Squse me Australia has been the willing helper for years and Christchurch yeh help but that do’s not mean allow brat behaviour if Nz is so good N.Zers go home Reciprical dos not mean you accept and send crims to Australia Fair cop

    • Kenneth Gear  

      New Zealand’s Human Right Act would not allow New Zealand to apply the same conditions to Australians living in New Zealand as experienced by New Zealanders in Australia as that would be racial discrimination.

    • Pam Gillespie Agree , thousands of Kiwis in Aust are on Benefits .Very few Aussies would be in NZ on benefits

    • Pam Gillespie agree, where will the money come from to fund more social security payments ? 🇦🇺

    • Dawn, where do you get your stats from? Your comment that there are thousands of Kiwis on benefits in Oz but very few Aussies in NZ on benefits doesn’t stack up, most Kiwi’s can’t get benefits in Australia but Australian’s can get the benefit here!
      All most hard working Kiwi’s are asking for is equal rights, no no less.
      To have to pay the same tax as everyone else but have very few rights doesn’t sound like the way that mates should treat each other

    • Ray Biar I believe I already said that Kiwis breaking the law should be returned home and I was not suggesting Oz should help with Christchurch I was poi.to.g out that it is an nothing cost to our country.

    • Rosalie Dann New Zealand economy is very good. I think you will find it may be better than ours at this time.

    • If you say so Maxine. I don’t know what the Oz economy is I only know you’re usually ahead. I also know that currently we are struggling with extremely high prices rentals and very few on offer. We’ve had people going bush because they literally cannot find a house to rent and definitely not in their price range. All the houses for sale here in T auranga are snapped up by Aucklanders and Asians predominantly and are in any case prices too high. We are still known as $10 Tauranga as in that’s the average wage

  4. Ive known a few kiwis & there favorite trick was to get a couple of passports off family so they could claim 3 or 4 dole checks .

    • Then you must have known some scummy ones. I daresay similar stories could be told of other nationalities there and also in NZ.

    • Kaylene they use to be its only reasently they stoped getting it . Brendet they use to go to diffrent offices this was in the 80,s & 90,s . It was even on the news thats one of the reasons they stoped giving them the dole . Im not saying all kiwies most are honest but a lot came over because they where in trouble at home . Things have changed now but it use to happen a lot you might be to young to rember but i do

      • Balgo  

        Never argue with an idiot, you’ll always lose.

    • Too young Lee Warry? I dont think so! I know there were a small group rorting the system many years ago which was actually blown all out of proportion by sensationalist media, in particular A Current Affair. There were also
      many other nationalities going into nz to get citizenship so they could get into Australia. Pacific Islanders, South Africans for example. I know all of this. But that was a long time ago and I am sick and tired of people like you still hating on New Zealanders and putting us all in the same box!

    • Kaylene as i said most kiwis are honest . But it did happen & in larger numbers than you think as for other nationalites yes but they were on NZ pasports why did they get them just to come here dident any NZ officles check on them as this was part of the problem . You sound like you have a chip o your sholder .no one said about now as i said it was years ago & why is the truth hating on newzelanders .if your not happy might i sugest going back if you think where hating on you witch im not its how your taking it .

    • You’re damn right I have a chip on my shoulder Lee. Wouldn’t you if you were constantly reading hate comments about Australians? I’m fed up with the kiwi dole bludger myth. And for your information, even John Howard later conceded that the kiwi dole bludger label was a myth, driven by the media. I read that somewhere but can’t remember where in case you’re going to ask me for evidence. Yes as I said there were a small number many years ago and the rest of us are still suffering for it!

    • Kaylene Clare they are always happy to grab New Zealanders that do well as there own Fred hollows. Keith urban Rebecca gibney just to name a few. I’m a bit over the hatred of kiwis in this country as well. Tell them you are a kiwi and you will get some smart arse reply.

    • Maya Richardson but of course Maya, none of you ever say anything derogatory about us or our country do you?? Cuts both ways Maya.

    • Irene Reynolds  

      So misinformed… A New Zealander with a criminal record cannot even get a visitors visa. If they try to over ride it they are detained at the border and returned to NZ. It been a long while since New Zealanders can claim any welfare. And the way they are discriminated against in tertiary education and Universities is immoral. Australia has some draconian law that is splitting families of those that have served prison terms. Some of these ex-prisoners know nothing of NZ, and were raised and educated in Australia. Seems Australia is over crowded so anyone they don’t want to deal with is being deported. Thanks for NOTHING Australia!

  5. I agree to send the criminals back, we have enough crooks of our own without importing more

    • Tris  

      I’m kiwi living here since 2007, came here for a two week holiday and never went back. have worked myself around this great Island and seen parts of WA, NSW, QLD, SA, now living in QLD, working and brought a home, have adored the places I’ve been too, those (meaning Australians) whom have taken time out and showed me their special parts of Aussie….
      Never would i dream of displaces or disgracing my self or Aussie with being or doing anything ‘criminal’ within these shores as Aussie has opened up many different things for me, feel very much an Australian within my self and personally those whom do ‘criminal’ activities should be sent back to their own country with out a doubt……..Rosalind
      I have found that many earlier ‘kiwi’s’ have truly abused the wealth they found over here, some of the stories I just could not believe my own country-men have done……

  6. Anne Hodgetts  

    This situation is a complete mess, and with the costs involved in the so called ” new solution” most people won’t be able to apply for residency anyway. T his is merely a money maker for the Australian government.

  7. numbers were the problem at one time we were 6 to 1 in n.z favour and a drain on us .still think no contract is best on this one alone

  8. Definately not. The rights are not recipcicol and we are paying too much now for them over here. Send them home also, they are mstly obnoxious will never become aussies and are just here for the benefits.

    • How DARE you. What a pig-ignorant comment. Read the article! New Zealanders aren’t entitled to welfare in Australia!!! They also don’t have any clear path to citizenship and yet contribute something like 3 billion dollars a year in taxes!

    • Kiara Williams  

      Roz Molyneaux .. New Zealanders cannot get any benefits in Australia !!! They pay taxes but cannot get any help from Australian Govt. In effect, New Zealanders are propping up your welfare system.

    • I know some nice Kiwi’s I went to wonderful ( am going to spell this wrong for sure ) hungi? recently and the food was wonderful and the people were great. I have not had a problem with Kiwis

    • Hangi. Thanks Libbi Elliot. I was born in New Zealand and am an Australian citizen having been lucky enough to arrive here before they changed the rules, basically blocking us from that. I have never been on a benefit in my life and neither have any of my friends or family. I find this woman’s comment quite astonishingly ignorant and ill informed.

    • I find all of this fascinating . My brother is an Australian citizen – by birth. I also was born there but came here aged two and remained. Mother Kiwi, Father Australian. I am a Kiwi citizen and frankly seeing these attitudes, happy to remain so.

    • Rosalie Dann there’s no way I would want to be Australian with that attitude you can shove your country and citizenship where the sun don’t shine.

    • I think you misundstand Rosalie Dann’s comment Maya Richardson. It’s the original comment by Roz Molyneux I think she is referring to. As I am. Rosalie Dann is a New Zealander.

    • Wayne Ferne Maya Richardson made the comment in response to the original disgusting comment by Roz Molyneux. She just made a mistake in the name. So what’s funny about that? The original comment warrants a defensive reaction.

    • P LeBas  

      That’s sweet of you Roz, When I came to Australia in the 80’s….I worked and paid my taxes. Only in the 90’s did I meet an Australian who stated “I’m not going to marry a KIWI….So, I now have a “number upon my back…And bloody proud of it.

    • Geoffrey Law  

      you should read what you right and you won’t embarrass yourself, idiot.

    • J meyer  

      I agree totally. If we have worked here for 10 years or more without causing any problems to the aussie system we should be able to apply for citizenship.
      And to Roz, what benefits do we get……. none.

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