Tuesday January 23, 2018   Last updated 06:39AM

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Big Win for Kiwis in Australia

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Big Win for Kiwis in Australia
By John Tamihere

I have written previously on values, ethics and direction of this new government and Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens have been hugely aggressive in tracking a 100-day delivery on what the trio campaigned on.

This government is a gift that keeps giving especially so, with the Families Package Act which I will devote a column to in the New Year. This new legislation is a massive contribution and a major positive impact on the 50% of Kiwis earning under the average wage of $48,000.

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had her first meeting with Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull, it was seized upon by National claiming the old guy was telling the young girl off.

It is true that Malcolm Turnbull is a very rich individual who comes from the same banking background as former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. It is no wonder those two hit it off on the golf course and in the board room. But these two Prime Ministers are from a different generation to Jacinda Ardern and thus has shaped an absolute and different approach to her tackling social causes.

So given Turnbull’ s background, it was always going to be difficult for our Prime Minister over matters as far stretched as refuges on Manus Island, access to benefits in Australia for working New Zealanders and citizenship for Kiwis who because of our familiarity never progressed dual citizenship. Kiwis who were born in Australia, contributed as workers, and yet declined all assistance as they didn’t take up citizenship.

The treatment of New Zealanders in Australia as second class citizens is abominable. The number of productive New Zealanders holding up the Australian economy and paying significant tax far outweighs the small percentage of New Zealanders that fall foul of the law yet get the majority of the bad publicity.

The only thing we can thank the Australian Government for is giving a few of our cousins a free holiday at the expense of the Aussie taxpayer on Christmas Island.

The ANZAC tradition is something New Zealanders still hold very dear having fought side by side in the Boer War, World War 1 and 2, Korean War, Vietnam and latterly Afghanistan.

The notion that where Australians go, New Zealanders will have their backs is still a truism here. But those views are gone from the hearts, minds and souls of Australians. Over the last 30 years, they have aligned and harmonised so much with the United States of America, they may as well federate themselves and become the 51st state of America.

So that’s why it was pleasing to see Australia back down on plans to charge Kiwi students higher fees and maintain the status quo regarding New Zealand students access to Government subsidised fees. A larger number of New Zealand students are crossing the Tasman to universities in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. More of our kids are making the move across the ditch because a number of these universities are tracking globally in the top 10, whether it be law, business and medicine.

It is right that our people attend these higher schools of learning and become more globally connected so that their return home advances the interests of their families and their country.

This piece ends with a bouquet for our Prime Minister in regards to the relationship with Australia. Her desire to reawaken our ANZAC spirit and to increase the activity between one of our most important trading partners is to be supported.


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