Labour leader Andrew Little (right) travelled to Australia with his former colleague Phil Goff in 2015 to lobby for Kiwi expats’ rights. (Photo: Nicholas Jones)
24 November 2015 – Anthony Robins (The Standard)
Good to see Andrew Little taking some action on this issue
Andrew Little to speak out on treatment of Kiwi expats in Australia visit
Labour leader Andrew Little hopes a visit to Australia will “shake the tree” on the country’s treatment of Kiwi expats who are denied access to government services.
Little will speak to the Australian parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and trade committee, as well as its migration committee, on Wednesday about the rules for New Zealanders who move to Australia.
In 2001, the Australian government removed New Zealanders’ rights to permanent residency, instead granting them special visas allowing them to live and work there indefinitely but denying them access to a range of benefits they could previously apply for.
Little said he had raised the issue with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull some time ago, saying it was unfair to tax Kiwis but then deny them access to the services they were helping to pay for.
Key’s response yesterday was pretty desperate.
PM hits out at Andrew Little’s lobbying trip
The Prime Minister has hit out at Labour leader Andrew Little’s trip to Canberra to lobby for expat Kiwi’s rights – claiming the visit could jeopardise progress being made through quiet diplomacy.
This “quiet diplomacy”, according to the article, has been going on since 2001 and has yet to bear fruit. I think it’s time to conclude that that tree is dead Jim. Good on Andrew Little for shaking this up and giving the issue some renewed publicity.
To suggest that this could somehow “make things worse” is to suggest that Australia would be motivated to new punitive acts against Kiwis – which requires a pretty low opinion of Australian diplomacy.
But Labour says John Key has only talked about improving Kiwis’ pathway to Australian citizenship after it raised the issue with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and arranged Mr Little’s Canberra visit.
“The issues are not new – John Key has been Prime Minister for seven years with no progress having been made. Progress really only seems to have been made since I started talking about the issues, including with Malcolm Turnbull on his recent visit, and when this trip was arranged.”
Key just doesn’t like being shown up by Little. His government has had Seven Long Years (and so on and so forth)…
Extra irony points, Key is claiming that Little could make things worse as he himself heads off to the Paris climate talks where he is going to make things worse.
[Source: Anthony Robins, The Standard]