Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will keep raising the issue of equal welfare with Australia. (Photo: Mark Mitchell)
Oz Kiwi opinion
It is well known in the not for profit sector and youth support agencies that there is a cohort of young New Zealanders who fall through the gaps when it comes to welfare. Prime Minister Ardern is correct that these young people are Australia’s responsibility not New Zealand’s.
Before you judge know this – these young people did not choose to come to Australia, their families moved here. For whatever reason they have left home early and there is no youth allowance or social security for them.
Homelessness and financial distress means many turn to criminal activity to feed themselves. Adding to the issue is the lack of an educational pathway either through TAFE or university that sees some young Kiwis leaving school early as they see no future for themselves.
Ardern rules out welfare for Kiwi teens in Australia
22 May 2018
NZ Herald article
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ruled out New Zealand providing help to Kiwi teenagers living rough in Australia after authorities there denied them welfare assistance.
“At the moment there’s no country in the world that funds another government to make welfare payments,” Ardern told RNZ this morning.
“My understanding is that if they’ve been there 10 years or more that there should be eligibility. But for this group that’s been raised we have an independent youth benefit in New Zealand, we have support we can provide them here. If they’re on the streets, that tells me they do not have that network of support. We could provide it here. Unfortunately we cannot provide it in Australia.”
Newshub last night reported that nearly 40 organisations had written to Ardern asking for help for New Zealand teenagers living on the streets in Australia.
Some of the teens have reportedly turned to begging or prostitution to live because they are not eligible for Australian welfare payments.
“These are children, and these are homeless children, and should be able to be supported by one of the governments in Australia in order to access financial support,” Australian Community Lawyer Shorna Moore told Newshub.
Ardern said today that the Government would keep raising the wider issue of equitable welfare with Australian officials.
“We have continued to maintain the rights of Australians in New Zealand, we continue to seek from Australia that they do the same. New Zealanders in Australia do do their bit, they tend to have higher wages, they pay tax. And as I say, there’s an inequity there. And we will keep raising it,” she told RNZ.
[Read the NZ Herald article].