Your say: Should New Zealanders have the same welfare rights as Australians? 683

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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:

“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.

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  1. Of course not

    3 REPLY
    • For those that say no.I have lived here 14 years worked and paid taxes.Came here Dec 01.I’ve ran out of work at times as a plasterer and had to do it tough for a few months at a time sometimes. I qualify 4 centrelink for a 1 off up to 6 month payment after living here 10 consecutively. Even after 14 consecutive years I have never applied for it when times got bad.So don’t tell me all we want is the dole.We work hard and we share the same values as Australians.My Mum was lucky enough to become a citizen because she move here in 99.All us kiwis want is a fair go for ourselves and families. Please research for yourselves to understand our plight.And for those Aussies that agree we should be treated fairly, please talk to your friends get the message out there and talk to your local mp.
      Any and all support would certainly be welcome.

  2. No wáy pay tax maybe

    4 REPLY
    • We do pay tax for NDIS and Centrelink which we are excluded from. Is that a fair go? Australians living in NZ are treated decently and get access to everything after a two year stand down. We would love to be citizens and vote in our adopted country but we feel excluded.

    • Jan Davies! If came here to live in NZ, you would have exactly the same rights as I do. And I am a born & raised NZer. Some of our ancestry from both sides of the ditch are either of Australian or Kiwi descent. So please go get a reality check?

    • Shameful. Statement Jan Australians get every right a kiwi gets here in NZ what happened. To.the ANZAC. way!!!

    • Tsk tsk Jan Davies its obvious you know nothing about how Australians are treated in NZ. A lot darn better than Australia thats for sure.

  3. Law of the land – applies to everyone, not just Kiwis. If Aussies went overseas to live, we would have to abide by their laws.

  4. If we were in NZ, would we have the same welfare rights? I think Not

    12 REPLY
    • Yes read the article properly. Australians are treated the same as New Zealanders after a certain amount of time living in the country. Not so in Australia. New Zealanders can never take out australian residency let alone citizenship and neither can there children born in Australia

      1 REPLY
      • Where did you get your info from Jenny? It’s grossly incorrect. NZ citizens can apply for citizenship if they meet the eligibility criteria. Children born here to NZ citizens are Australian citizens by birth if at least one parent is a permanent visa holder or is covered by the 2001 transitional arrangements. Children born here to NZ citizens who aren’t protected SCV holders are granted Australian citizenship at age 10 provided they reside in Australia until their 10th birthday. Their parents need to provide proof of residence.

        1 REPLY
        • Jan we came from NZ before 2001 and have SCV. Our older NZ born children became Australian Citizens after they turned 18. Our youngest child was born here but is not an Australian Citizen. My husband contributes way more of his income than the average Australia does (at least 48% of his income goes to the tax department). We are entitled to Medicare but that’s about it. Australians going to New Zealand get better treatment than New Zealanders coming to Australia.

          1 REPLY
          • If you were here on Feb 26th 2001 or for 12 months in the two years prior you should be protected SCV holders and eligible to apply for citizenship, and your Australian-born child should be an Australian citizen by birth. You may need to complete a form 119 – Application for Evidence of Australian Citizenship for your Australian-born child. You’ll find the form on the DIBP website.

    • Jenny Wyatt.. I am an expat Kiwi living in Australia. I have both NZ & Australian citizenship along with my kids. My grandchildren born here have Australian citizenship. Fact

    • Yes we do Trish McAlister. Benefits were better and Dentist and Dr 10cents a visit. I had my children in a top Auckland Hospital, best treatment available and absolutely free. My children have dual citizenship.

    • I’m sorry, Jenny Wyatt, but your comment is incorrect. My daughter-in-law is from New Zealand and she got Australian Citizenship!!!

    • Look I agree with Jenny. If they arrived after 2001 what she is saying is correct. The exception would be if they were on the wanted occupation list (like Doctors or engineers) and under 45 or they were sponsored by a spouse. Most – that is probably 200,000 plus will never be eligible. I am in that category. Arrived post 2001, Uni educated with 30 plus years experience, but over 45 and not on the wanted list and married to a kiwi in the same position. There is NO pathway to PR or citizenship in these circumstances due to the 2001 law change which meant we are on a temporary visa as long as we live and work in Australia

      1 REPLY
      • It isn’t quite as clear cut as that. For example – if an NZ citizen arrived in Australia to live on June 12th 2011 but happened to be in Australia on holidays on Feb 26th 2001, or lived here for 12 months in the two years prior to Feb 26th 2001, they should be eligible to apply for citizenship on June 12th 2015 because they’re a protected SCV holder and will meet the four residence requirement.

    • Thank goodness for someone like you Maggie Flynn who is well informed & knows what they are talking about
      Australia changed the rules in 2001 & Australians living in NZ qualify for all benefits after 2 years

    • I am Australian but lived in New Zealand for a few years. I found myself in unfortunate circumstances while I was there and was treated just the same as if I were a kiwi

  5. If they live here work here and pay tax I am OK with it. Not if you just choose to move here to live and do nothing to support yourself. Why should Australian tax payers support you.

    14 REPLY
    • NZ citizens don’t come here to bludge. They are hard workers – and they need to work because they can’t get a hand up. In fact NZ-born people have the highest participation rate in the workforce – even more than Australian born people. There needs to be some kind of safety net – these people pay taxes the same as everyone else. God help those non-protected SCV holders who have a special needs child born here, there’s not much in the way of help for them. God help the woman and children who are escaping a domestic violence situation – they struggle to get help because they can’t access the correct Centrelink payment. In many cases the woman cannot take the children out of Australia. These people are also paying the increased Medicare levy but can’t access the NDIS. There will be tens of millions of dollars paid towards the NDIS by these people every year – where will that money be going?

    • It should be the same as Australians living in NZ here they get everything we kiwis get…and we don’t send them back to Australia when they comitte a crime perhaps we need to follow the Australians in that aspect .

    • We’re talking about Australia. What your government does is your problem. Your countries job to change your laws.

      1 REPLY
      • SS So, on the basis of your logic, Margaret, we (NZ) should treat Aussies as Australia treats Kiwis?
        Fortunately (for Aussies who need help in NZ), we aren’t as mean-spirited as your government.

        1 REPLY
        • One of the issues here is the number of kiwis living in Australia, last count there was over 300,000, not an insignificant number whereas the number of Aussies living in NZ is considerably less.
          In Logan (Brisbane) I can tell you its the Kiwis that are the biggest users of hand-outs and free food. The short answer is there are way too many Kiwis in Australia to relax the rules

    • So Margaret, Australia shouldn’t do for NZ citizens what NZ does for Australian citizens living there? What you’re saying is NZ should change??

    • I think Margaret needs to get a life. If NZ was to change our laws to the same as Aussie, Margaret would probably the first to complain. Then again we really don’t need negative people like Margaret over here do we

    • Read my comment. Just don’t agree we should pay for freeloaders no matter what country they come from. That’s all AMEN.

      1 REPLY
      • There are plenty of Australian-born freeloaders who have no trouble popping kids out and finding the funds to buy alcohol and cigarettes. Why should working people fund their lifestyle choices? Perhaps their benefits should be cut off too, then they might have to get off their lazy backsides and get a job. Sounds good to me. Or do you think your logic should only apply to people who have come to Australia from elsewhere?

    • New Zealanders are NOT “JUST FREELOADERS” – The majority are highly qualified, hardworking, decent people who just want to make a good future for their families! Why should we be deprived of the right to become citizens, even after a few years of living there and paying their taxes! You take people from all other countries who have the right to apply for residency and citizenship, and you can’t tell me that they are all better than all New Zealanders?? That’s, in effect what you Australians are saying, which is bigoted and discriminatory!! We are good enough to assist with certain things, like firefighting, but not good enough to earn the right to emigrate!!!

    • the history of NZers and Australians fighting for each other in 2 world wars wouldnt have been recorded in Germany or mentioned in family lines.

    • why should NZ taxpayers support Aussies,who come here to live and work, then find themselves out of a job, but if they are living here have worked for a time, then they collect the dole.

    • I agree Patricia they should come home. However Australia cant change this it is up to the NZ Government. NZ taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for out of work Aussies and visa versa.

    • My son-in-law is a Kiwi; he works bloody hard (harder than many Aussies) but when he became redundant, he could get no assistance. I had to help him, my daughter and their children survive. I am a true blue Aussie, born and bred, but i lived and worked in NZ for several years and received same entitlements as NZers. It is so expensive for my son-in-law to get citizenship, heaps more than other nationalities. I really don’t get it.

      1 REPLY
  6. Of course permanent residencey and citizinship should be offered. I have a dim memory that there were once reciprocal Social Security Benefits / rights between Aus and NZ but for some reason they were removed …. perhaps as far back as the 1980’s ………. cant remember why ……

    3 REPLY
    • There is still a social security reciprocal agreement but it only extends to the age pension, disability support pension and carer payment – the person being cared for needs to be receiving the DSP. One of the stupid things (there are many) about the 2001 legislation changes is that people may live here for 20 years as a non-protected SCV holder then something happens and they can’t support themselves here – they go back to NZ and go on a benefit there even though they may not have paid taxes there for decades.

    • Thats what I would like to see. But it should weed out the ones that do nothing in their country of choice. If you are born on one of the countries and never work that country should look after you.

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