Kiwi citizenship in Australia

A big announcement came from John Key’s meeting with Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney – it will be easier for a large number of (but far from all) New Zealanders to get citizenship in Australia.

While some opposition reaction has been “not enough” this is a significant change that has been mostly received praise, on this side of the Tasman at least.

Audrey Young at NZ Herald: Brave concession a real boost for NZers

Yesterday’s move by Turnbull is a courageous one in election year.

He was clearly convinced that it was unfair to make it harder for that cohort of Kiwis to get citizenship than others from around the world.

Sydney Morning Herald: Malcolm Turnbull announces new path for Kiwis to become Australian citizens

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders living in Australia will be able to apply for Australian citizenship under a deal announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his New Zealand counterpart John Key on Friday.

Mr Turnbull said that New Zealanders on special category visas who have lived in Australia for five years or more, and who earn above $54,000, would now be able to apply for citizenship.

“I think this is a very important recognition of the very close ties between Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Turnbull said.

Tracey Watkins reports at Stuff: Acknowledging the ‘special relationship’ between two nations at last

Turnbull’s announcement on Friday of a “pathway to citizenship” for as many as 100,000 Kiwis living in Australia was already being dismissed as grudging at best by some of the Government’s opponents.

But that denies the huge significance of the win, despite Australia’s very large caveats.

Those caveats include the fact that it is a one-off gesture – an amnesty if you like, for the tens of thousands of Kiwis who have arrived across the Tasman since 2001, the date when the Howard government announced a clamp down on welfare entitlements for Kiwis crossing the ditch under the historic right to freedom of travel between the two countries.

The other glaring caveat is that there are hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who still won’t qualify for Australian citizenship even under the amnesty announced on Friday – they either lack the skills, or don’t earn enough, to be valued by Australia.

But for the estimated 60,000-to-100,000 Kiwis likely to qualify for citizenship under the deal, Australia’s back down will be life changing.


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  1. Prime Minister John Key has crossed the Tasman to convince Mal Turnbull it’s to his and Australia’s advantage to “cherry pick” the Kiwi population; keep the upper echelon of ex-pat talent, educated and trained at New Zealand’s expense; some possibly student loan refugees.

    That this hadn’t dawned on Malcolm already speaks volumes.
    Time for a leadership change over there maybe?

    “We’ve got no use for them Mal”, I hear Key saying, “We don’t have the natural resources or the industry and we’re not going to develope it. By the time TPPA’s real rewards kick in there’ll be a new generation trained up. So you keep this lot mate. It’s a win/win. You get our talent; we avoid any negative connotations, along with some possible social welfare payments.

    This globalisation works Mal, if you just flail it a bit and play your cards right. Mobile international labour, yeah? It’s gotta be good for everyone. You need semi-skilled resource extraction labour and tech-savvy professionals. HR. We’ll train them and export them to you. We need ‘contract’ fruit pickers. Dime a dozen from Pacific Islands eh?

    Okay mate, got your flags in place? Here we go and “meet the media” … smile!”

  2. Blazer

     /  21st February 2016

    yes ,smacks of class distinction….good kiwis to the right,bad kiwis….left…right…out.

    • Oliver

       /  21st February 2016

      There are plenty of “blue collar” worker’s from nz working in the mining construction industry earning well over 60000. So I don’t think there’s much class distinction. It’s a good policy, that will benefit a lot kiwis that have settled in Australia.

      • kittycatkin

         /  21st February 2016

        We saw a news item about this once; a heavy vehicle driver was earning good money-driving up to 16 hours a day ! I’d hate to be on the road when he is.

        Miners here earn well over $60,000 and have been for years. Earn being the operative word for miners.

        $53,000 is about the NZ average wage, isn’t it ?

        • @ Miss Kitty – Yes, more-or-less exactly the average Kiwi wage. What better setting to use for Australian citizenship eligibility? One thing Key seldom misses the target on is numbers, money.

          Other things, pony tails, offensive radio, nefarious Saudi sheepy stuff, dubious lapel badges et al ad infinitum literally don’t ‘count’ …

      • @ Oliver – Yes … well, no. Not “good” in an all-round beneficial sense; and, as I am becoming more inclined to believe, Blazer might be referring to “neo-liberal binary class distinction” : That is : extremely high income earners and ‘the rest’?

        Kiwis becoming Australian may benefit them individually yes.

        Each one also maybe incrementally benefits the Grey Zone of globalised Western culture. It doesn’t matter where you live; your roots, history, heritage, family … et al. What matters is your conformity to Inverted Totalitarianism measured by how much you earn … the possessions it buys you, the wealth you accumulate (and maybe the corporate status of your job?) … I’m exaggerating for effect again …

        “Throw down your gun … don’t be so reckless”

        • Oliver

           /  21st February 2016

          The threshold is isn’t high. 55000 that’s an average salary in Australia. So the bar isn’t that high.

          • Oliver

             /  21st February 2016

            When I worked in Australia I went from a salary 52000 in nz to 110000 in Australia. So the 55000 seems like a lot to us kiwis but in aus it’s a low salary.

            • @ Oliver – and this means … what? John Key has ‘sold’ Kiwis to Australia relatively cheap? Yep! Looks that way. Cheap, cheaper, cheapest is the way of the world today.

              What I love about this topic is the perverse, distorted, neoliberal inversion of Australia’s “convict transportation” beginnings.

              Now we’re shipping them our best rather than our worst !!!

              Do you like the analogy Oliver?

            • Oliver

               /  21st February 2016

              PZ have looked at it from the point of view of kiwis living in Australia. Many have fled low social economic areas of the country, many without any prospects of a good life. And they have found it in Australia. Good for them..and now they have an easier path for citizenship. A lot of these people arent highly educated academics, they’re trades people Labourers truckies etc…

            • @ Oliver – You do realise we’re having a reasonable, rational conversation here, don’t you?

              Okay, dude, I more-or-less totally agree with you, I’m just not sure about the greater “good”?

              I know their occupations. Lot’s of folks from around here are in this (dare I say it) “Turn-Key”* position; but in many cases lack of local opportunity conflicts with whenua and whanau connections (and yes Timoti, these can include unwanted or compelled responsibilities, restrictive to individual personal development … I guess?)

              I am just reframing it Oliver, in a devil’s advocate sorta way.

              Example: So now we’re shipping NZ’s political, economic and social deficiency – to provide employment across diverse communities – off to Australia. Is this “good”?

            • * “Turn-Key” = Turnbull and Key.

        • Pickled Possum

           /  21st February 2016

          On the day I was born, the nurses all gathered ’round
          And they gazed in wide wonder, at the joy they had found
          The head nurse spoke up, and she said leave this one alone
          She could tell right away, that I was bad to the bone.

          whoops shouting the odds again. 🙂

          • Morena Possum, you are, of course, welcome to join in. How’s our korero going do you reckon? If the above is a comment on it I’m afraid its too obscure for me on a sunny Sunday morning? 😉 I lost my mind …

            Peter Garrett sang, “Better to die on your feet than live on your knees”

            And I have no idea why that’s in my head or why I just wrote it …

            If you wish to fly you must find your wings. Where did you leave them?

            • Possum – I’m in full flight coining words today! (If nothing else). What do you think? I’ve gotta make a list. I’ve forgotten one already!
              Capitalarian – Capitalist-Totalitarian.
              This will work as Corporatarian as well! (# 36!)
              Turn-Key … not really a word … 🙂 Tehehe !

            • Pickled Possum

               /  21st February 2016

              I LUVVV The Turn-Key ref it is soooo right that it’s all we have left. Capitalarian is just so spot on …
              Your the Ulitmate Word Warrior and I will miss your mash ups.
              mash – mixing new and old to form something delightfully palatable.

              you like Parti mash up Hot from my obscure memory mind.

            • Pickled Possum

               /  21st February 2016

              kia ora Parti

              yea sometimes I am to too obscure for my own liking.
              I was celebrating your korero with young oliveer and the caps got locked
              couldn’t be bothered re writing……….man and MY wings are somewhere safe where I have NFI
              GEORGE THOROGOOD…… jeepers who keeps doin that cap thing
              Bad to the Bone. I won’t be around for a while a … higher priority than my yournz parti addiction is needing my energy for the next few weeks
              but I will be back!
              so just leaving you a song memory of meeeeee.
              ka kite ano e hoa

            • @ Possum – e hoa

              ina e tika ana te wa : when the time is right

              I was looking for a different song from this but this came up and it says something … with a hearty helping of counter-point and pathos … couple of ingredients for the soup …?

              pārekareka ki tou wa atu : enjoy your time away

              2 songs –

  3. jamie

     /  21st February 2016

    Good on John Key.

    The last thing NZ needs is skilled, trained workers earning above the median wage.

    • @ Jamie – I must concede brevity makes for the better humour, as I just now found out reading your post as I sipped on a coffee. Lucky the spray missed my laptop keyboard …

      Best quip in a long while, simple as that …

    • jamie

       /  21st February 2016

      ps I assume Key has skilfully negotiated that we still pay their pensions when they retire.

      • @ Jamie @ Possum – Jamie just FRIED his keyboard! Cooked it!
        😉 (He’ll have a spare)

        Be darned interesting to know if Super entered the discussions actually?

        Pensions might have been an inducement to let some citizens go?
        Cut your losses? It’s just a numbers game, after all …

    • Oliver

       /  21st February 2016

      It’s up to us the people to campaign for better wages in NZ. John Key not going to help.


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