Kiwis in fight for equal rights

According to the website, New Zealanders make up 3 per cent of Australia’s population while across in New Zealand, 2 per cent of the population are Australian-born people.

‘It is 1 per cent difference ” it is not like there is heaps of difference per capita,’ Hayden Morgan said.

Ms Anderson said she started the campaign to raise awareness of the issues faced by New Zealanders in Australia and build pressure for change.

‘A lot of New Zealanders aren’t aware, let alone Australian people,’ she said.

Ms Anderson said on the surface, they had similar benefits as permanent residents, but New Zealanders could not join the Australian Defence Force or work in Federal Government jobs.

A Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said in June 2012, there were an estimated 648,000 New Zealand citizens in Australia, of whom about 70 per cent were believed to be ordinarily resident in Australia.

‘DIAC estimates 250,000 New Zealand citizens have settled permanently in Australia since the 2001 social security changes,’ he said.

The DIAC spokesman said the 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement has allowed Australian and New Zealand citizens to enter each other’s country to visit, live and work, without the need to apply to enter.

‘When Australia introduced its universal visa requirement in 1994, the subclass 444 special category visa (SCV) was created to administer the flow of New Zealand citizens arriving under the travel arrangement,’ he said.

‘No changes have been made to the operation of the SCV since it was introduced in 1994 as a temporary visa. It has always allowed New Zealand citizens to live, work and study in Australia indefinitely.’

The spokesman said until February 26, 2001, SCV holders had similar rights to access government benefits and services as other permanent residents in Australia.

He said the two countries announced a new social security agreement in 2001 that set out arrangements for payments of aged pensions, disability support pensions and carer payments for New Zealand citizens living in Australia.

‘As a result, the Social Security Act 1991 requires New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia after February 26, 2001 to apply for and be granted an Australian permanent visa to access certain social security payments (including income support payments) that are not covered by the bilateral agreement,’ the spokesman said.

‘New Zealand citizens have the same permanent visa options available to them as all other nationalities.

‘The Australian Government acknowledges that there will be some New Zealand citizens who will not be able to meet the requirements for a permanent visa, even if they have lived in Australia for many years.’

The DIAC spokesman said the department had been contributing to a whole-of-government review of the issue for some time, but then Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in April this year that the Government had no plans to extend existing arrangements.

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Population statistics:
– According to the Australian Bureau of
Statistics 2011 Census results, there were
5447 people born in New Zealand living in
the City of Wanneroo, equating to 3.6 per
cent of the City’s population.
– In the City of Joondalup, they made up 3
per cent of the population, or 4535 people.
– So far in 2013, 11 of the 1158 who have
become citizens at Wanneroo’s ceremonies
were originally from New Zealand.
In Joondalup, 17 of the 1194 new citizens
so far this year originated in New Zealand.