NZ and Australian Governments:

 14th October, 2013

For the most part many of us New Zealanders are living a good life here in Australia. We're working and loving the lifestyle, opportunities and climate. We participate fully believing we are truly welcomed with open arms. Yet thousands of unsuspecting Kiwis have ensnared themselves and their families through no fault of their own. Not for one moment do New Zealanders consider there is a problem to us being here. Not for one moment do we believe there is going to be major roadblocks ahead. We come wide eyed and excited to experience what Australia has to offer. In return we come willing to share our own unique personalities, work ethics, tenacity, culture and spirit.

Our nationals have been commuting between our two countries since the days of Captain Cook and possibly earlier. Our nations are interwoven in so many ways through ancestral ties, trade, shared economies and benefits as well as historical experiences, constitutions, British Commonwealth, ANZAC tradition and indigenous bonds. The concept of migration often doesn't enter our minds, after all, all we need is a passport right? No need to worry about special visas. In fact, we have one especially granted automatically and aptly named the Special Category Visa, assigned solely for New Zealanders. Research and homework is easily done with web searches and phone calls. Many come confident and willing to give it a go and enjoy the new challenges ahead. We are all led to believe our trusty passport is the key to freedom of travel and pathways to residency. But somehow 13yrs has slipped by and people are constantly surprised that the relationship is somewhat one-sided. Suffice to say both Australians and New Zealanders alike are horrified and dumbfounded when they learn the cold truths about what has been actually taking place. 

Most will never need any access to support or assistance which is great for the economy and ourselves yet despite the. However, God help any of us should something go wrong in this country many have come to call home. This home will never treat you nor embrace you like anybody else. Simply because under current legislations most will never be good enough, young enough, healthy enough, qualified enough or financially able to meet the necessary requirements.

Unbeknownst to almost everybody the pathway to permanent residency is completely out of reach for almost all New Zealanders including all NZ born children who have been trapped by the 2001 legislations. We simply cannot meet the obscure criteria in order to qualify for permanent residency. We therefore have been cut off at the knees and have no hope in ever attaining a fair and reasonable pathway. Unlike our counter Australians who enjoy the full benefits and rights to fully participate in NZ. Despite all the deliberate exclusions Australia continues to welcome us open arms to come and reside, work, pay taxes, pay into our super funds yet government proudly state it is Kiwis who are the lucky ones knowing full well this is a complete facade.  The Australian government in fact have been the lucky ones all along lining their own pockets and coffers with our generous taxes yet they have somehow managed to convince the general public through what we can only describe as deliberate propaganda, sensationalist media reports and ongoing wilfully blind tactics to misinform and mislead people.

Statistics have pointed out that more that $2.5 billion dollars of tax revenue is from the pockets of hardworking Kiwis. This is of course an illusion. On the surface it seems easy enough to move across the Tasman, find work, settle, purchase a property, start your own business. But on the other hand the true cost is hidden amongst exaggerated claims of backdoor migration, seeking to merely sit on our bums and collect dole payments, distorted media reports, parliamentarians quite happily ignoring the issues and denying a problem even exists, having no say, no rights to vote, no access to disability support, no access to help should one need it and no financial support whatsoever. In fact Kiwis are regularly encouraged by government initiatives to move to Australia. So in essence we have been referred to as guest workers, getting very little return for our contributions. This has even been completely reversed to New Zealanders being attacked by politicians and media alike along with unsuspecting patrons being led to believe we are acting in an ungrateful manner and that our true intent is to bludge heavily on Australia's taxes causing a huge burden that is completely unfair.

But are we really just ‘Guest workers’ filling the tax coffers of the Australian Government? Is that all that we and our families worth to Australia? PM Tony Abbott seemed very proud and happy of the fact by stating:

 ''I want everyone who comes to this country to work and pay taxes from day one and I'm delighted that that's exactly what Kiwis have done,'' Mr Abbott said. ''I'm very happy with the situation that exists right now, which is Kiwis coming here know that they're expected to work and pay taxes from day one as so many of them do.''

Meanwhile, without any surprise we all watched John Key go along with the idea endorsing Australia’s Government’s sovereign right to do as they pleased to us. "In the end we totally respect the sovereign right of the Australian Government to decide how they treat those who come and work in Australia."

It’s interesting John Key and previous NZ PM’s have allowed it’s citizens to be openly discriminated against knowing full well if things go terribly wrong many have fallen through the cracks into dire straits without any support whatsoever. Many are stranded and couldn’t go back if they tried because they have no money, no passport, suffer illnesses or are often helpless and are unable to advocate for themselves.

Does he not understand also that if individuals and families are forced to go back to NZ we are actually costing our NZ taxpayers money? Most of which we have not contributed to for up to 13 years? How is that fair on our people working and living in NZ? Many have sent their adolescent children back to NZ to get a higher education, again at the cost of our NZ taxpayers normally with the full intention of returning back to Australia to work and be reunited with their families.

We at Iwi n Aus are ordinary people just like you. No legal nor political backgrounds. Just a passion to stand up and not take being treated less anymore. We love Australia and have integrated beautifully. We want to belong and we would love our children to be treated the same as every other child that lives here. It's time to start standing up for ourselves and against these laws that are grossly unjust and unfair. 

These laws are beginning to generate a new type of discrimination and racism right under our noses. Kiwis and their children are being told to GO BACK to where you came from, you don't belong here! (putting it nicely), even by other migrants if you please?! That type of attitude is the very thing we try to stamp out from day one. Such behaviour is regarded as discriminative, hateful, racist and hurtful if it were to be seen occurring in our education or work faculties yet within a society ruled by a government it is seen as ok? At the very least this mentality and attitude goes completely against the beliefs and morals of inclusion, diversity, multiculturalism, acceptance of differences and tolerance.

How many 'discussions' is it going to take? How many letters to politicians, Human Rights, United Nations or anyone else for that matter is it going to take? Does anyone in high places actually care? If there is, where are they and what are they doing to help? If our own two governments couldn't care less about what's happening to the ordinary people, both New Zealanders and their families INCLUDING Australians who are married or have children to NZers then who will? What is it going to take? 

There is so much research and fantastic arguments around why changing these legislations makes it fairer to everyone. Why can't the two governments see the sense in it all? If they don't listen something, someday will give and I dare say that day is coming sooner than we think. 

What is either of our governments doing about our issues? Sadly the answer is very little to nothing at all. In 2013 we saw a massive increase in media coverage both good and bad, and many people becoming aware of these issues yet nothing has changed nor is there any plans to. 

This was also proven by the non-discussion between our two Prime Ministers in October, 2013 when John Key came to visit Australia. 

 "Hundreds of thousands of Kiwi citizens currently living in Australia will be disappointed to know that their rights have not changed after New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's visit to Australia. Greater economic rights were not on the agenda as far as Prime Minister Tony Abbott is concerned.

No one who should care does, and NZ people are divided as many are still unaware of the core issues or finding it difficult to comprehend the extreme nature of all the complex issues. It's become apparent over time that the only hope we have as general civilians is the need to be united. 

Nga mihi,

Erina Anderson