An article written by Ayden Marsh-Smith an Iwi n Aus volunteer in response to the NT News article that he discovered in NT News whilst holidaying over the 2013 Christmas period with family in Darwin. To his horror he sent us a snapshot of the article of which we contacted the NT Newspapers immediately to lay formal complaints.

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Kiwi’s are not layabouts and contribute heavily to Australia’s community and economy.

As a New Zealander who has made Australia my home, it’s nice to know that what I contribute to the Australian economy both through my taxes and socially is appreciated and admired. In my current role, my now Team Leader declares, ‘We hired you because we know that Kiwis are hard workers’. 

My parents who now live in Darwin both work, and have worked since the day they arrived in Australia some 14 years ago. They are Protected New Zealanders (Special Category Visa [SCV] holders) which means should they ever fall on hard times they would be able to access Social Security. However, they have always said they would never resort to this unless they were on the ‘Bones of their assess’. 

I, (along with many other New Zealanders) arrived after the date of February 26, 2001 meaning that we are regarded as Non-Protected SCV New Zealanders. The changes to legislation means that there is no Social Security assistance should we fall on hard times through no fault of our own eg sickness, accident, redundancy, death in the family. This decision was hastily put into place under the Howard government without regard or thought into how this would impact lives and future generations. 

My parents live in Darwin but used to live in Adelaide and had their plumbing business there. They put young Australian men through apprenticeships, paid their business taxes, fixed Australian (and New Zealand) people’s pipes and so forth. They sent my 3 young sisters to the local community school and apart from a New Zealand passport; you would swear they are Australian. 

This Christmas I decided to fly up to Darwin and spend time with my parents. My three sisters flew up a few days before me. My Australian partner joined us as well as the neighbours of my parents who are Australian along with their kiwi brother in law. Incidentally, I am the only one in the family who is non-protected. The rest are either citizens or permanent residents. Sure, there’s always going to be the odd ‘sheep joke’ and whether Sonny Bill Williams will stay in Australia or not? But there is a real sense of family and togetherness when everybody comes together, whether you’re Aussie or Kiwi. 

Spirits are usually high during this time because for many of us, we are blessed to live in a nation that is fairly wealthy, there is plenty of employment, great weather and opportunities galore. The barbeques are lit, bathers thrown on, food and drinks surface and there’s plenty of laughter. However, this year the laughter, fun times and sense of wellbeing and purpose was short-lived by an article I read in the NT News. It read ‘KIWI LAYABOUTS ARE FLOODING IN’. What I read upset me immensely. My family and I felt like we had all been up and slapped in the face by such a disgraceful piece of dirt journalism. Even our Australian neighbours couldn’t believe the content and audacity of publishing such material. 

I don’t even know where to begin with this article but the words slander, insulting and racist comes to mind. And where are the true facts and context around this big statement ‘KIWI LAYABOUTS ARE FLOODING IN’?

“Kiwis flocking to Australia and demanding the dole? My mum states, "Most kiwis can’t even get the dole so what are they talking about?” I agreed with her comment along with a few not so nice comments about the reporter and the newspaper. The neighbour says “NT News must hire graduates or amateurs because that article seems unprofessionally written.” Again, I agreed totally.

Being a recent NZ Uni graduate with a good job and with Australia benefiting from this, how could I, along with hundreds of thousands of other taxpaying New Zealanders be called a 'layabout?’ 

I could write a full blown essay on why this article is so inaccurate and unethical but for the purpose of my own story, I want to keep this focused on the key points made that don’t sit well with me.

In the first paragraph ‘Jobless kiwis flocking to Australia in search of work and demanding the dole’ is nonsense. New Zealanders can move to Australia under the Trans Tasman Travel Agreement (TTTA) freely and in most cases will find employment. Like myself, many hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders will find work, pay taxes, fall in love, marry Australians, make Australian friends, volunteer for causes, pay school fees, buy houses, build businesses and employ Australians and contribute much, much more to the Australian community. I don’t know of any post 2001 kiwi that could demand the dole as we are simply ineligible, fullstop.

The term ‘LAYABOUT’ is demeaning and disgusting to a nation of people who have been anything but good people. When taxpaying New Zealanders fall on hard times, even after being here for a decade there is little to no help apart from a one off 6 mth payment after 10yrs, that's it. New Zealand people can fall through the cracks and become destitute and desperate. Wouldn’t anyone that had no help, no matter where they came from? 

My question to those readers out there is that if you lost your job, could not access any social security assistance, lost your home due to the crippling effects of no financial aid, still had children to clothe and feed and had to house-share with many others; would you like to be labelled a ‘layabout’?

The third paragraph reads ‘But Australians welfare crackdown is forcing jobless kiwi migrants to sardine into share houses with friends and extended family...’ I can acknowledge that this is probably factual information as what other choice do people have when they become destitute and desperate. However, as an employee of an organisation that deals daily with Centelink, there is no such welfare crackdown that I am aware of at present. If anything and from what I witness almost every day are Australians who are entitled to the Disability Support Pension because they have anxiety or depression. I am not minimising their conditions but I find it difficult to stomach being labelled a kiwi layabout when fingers should be pointed at other groups. But, as a decent, law abiding, productive and contributing New Zealander who now calls Australia home, I don’t point fingers. I don’t blame other groups of people for political hiccups. I believe that everybody should be given the same respect, assistance and financial aid to become empowered and independent should they need that help. The only good part of the article was that Anglicare are very aware of the consequences of the 2001 law change and see the importance of giving struggling New Zealanders a hand up; after all, most of these New Zealanders call Australia home and is it fair to let children suffer also? Some of these young only know of Australia. These people genuinely need help, they’re not layabouts.

Finally, the title along with the bolded sub-title ‘It’s getting worse’ will most probably be interpreted as ‘Kiwis that are flooding in will get worse’. Again, unethical journalism and is geared to place racism and hatred onto the New Zealand population who again are hard-working, tax paying members of Australian society. C’mon Australia, look around, New Zealanders are marrying your brothers, sisters or children. New Zealanders are building businesses here, hiring Australians and creating opportunities for everyone. New Zealanders are proud to call Australia home and own this. New Zealanders are not layabouts and the Australian people need to know that some of the harsh and degrading situations kiwis could face.

By Ayden Marsh
Adelaide, SA 
Iwi n Aus Volunteer and Team Member

 Iwi n Aus Facebook Post - 30th December, 2013

Natasha Bita was the author of the article titled Layabout Kiwis Flocking to Australia published in the Darwin newspaper.
Thankfully one of our Iwi n Aus volunteers Ayden Marsh-Smith spotted it whilst there visiting family and sent us the snapshot. After making several phone calls this morning to complain I discovered Natasha's phone number and her voicemail says she is on leave until 14th Jan. I couldn't help but feel like everyone I spoke to was passing the buck taking no responsibility for such poor and inaccurate journalism. 

However, if you are disturbed enough like we are then why not share your thoughts as well? Who knows, they may want to follow up with the real facts from reliable sources? We can always aim to turn something negative into something positive. Feel free to voice your concerns to the NT News 08 89449710, Sydney Daily Times 02 92883000 
Natasha Bita 07 36667469 BNE (leave a message)
or contact Nick 02 92881631

Other details added in thread thanks to Bronwyn Harmer:

Bronwyn Harmer You need to do four things in writing. Complaint letters to the journalist involved, the Editor, the actual newspaper and lastly to the Australian Press Council. If they rule against the newspaper they can order an apology in writing.

Natasha Bita
Consumer Editor
07 3666 7469

Naku noa
Erina and team

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