‘We just got played by the Aussies’: Despair over NZ’s citizenship deal – Sky News Australia

‘We just got played by the Aussies’: Despair over NZ’s citizenship deal - Sky News Australia

A New Zealand politician has voiced concerns about a raid on the country’s talent amid changes to citizenship rules in Australia for those moving across the Tasman. 

ACT Party leader David Seymour on Monday said the Chris Hipkins Labour government “got played by the Aussies” after the streamlined pathway was unveiled at the weekend.

Mr Hipkins and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Saturday a direct route to citizenship for New Zealanders who have lived in Australia for four years.

But Mr Seymour said the announcement benefited Australia to the detriment of New Zealand, with fears more Kiwis will be enticed to make the move to gain higher pay.   

“We just got played by the Aussies. The Aussie government played Hipkins like a didgeridoo. They have just done a raid on New Zealand talent… and Hipkins is over there smiling, saying how wonderful it all is,” he told New Zealand’s AM program. 

“In fact, he’s trying to say that it’s one of the Labour government’s most substantial achievements which is helping New Zealanders live in another country. 

“What’s more, it wasn’t even his decision, it was the Australian government’s decision. We should have a Prime Minister who’s saying, ‘Look we understand the Australians are doing this but here’s how we’re going to boost productivity with some policies in New Zealand’.

“He’s not doing that, he’s over there getting played like a didgeridoo.”

From July 1, New Zealanders living in Australia on a special category visa will no longer have to become a permanent resident before applying for citizenship.

They will be able to become a citizen of Australia subject to the four year residence rule and other standard eligibility requirements.

Mr Hipkins said the move restored most of the rights New Zealanders had in Australia prior to changes being made by the then Howard government in 2001. 

The change is retrospective, meaning any New Zealander in Australia since 2001 is able to gain Australian citizenship as long as they have been across the Tasman for four years.

Mr Hipkins added that “children born in Australia since 1 July 2022 to a New Zealand parent living there will also automatically be entitled to citizenship”.

New Zealand has long argued for a “fair go” and for “arrangements that are reciprocal to what is offered to Australians living in New Zealand”.

“This is fundamentally a question of fairness. These New Zealanders are living in Australia, they’ve made their lives in Australia,” Mr Hipkins told reporters in Brisbane.

'Significant step': NZ PM welcomes Australian citizenship announcement

“By not being able to access the pathway to citizenship, they also haven’t been able to access many of the public services that they should be able to rely on.”

The New Zealand Prime Minister denied making citizenship easier for Kiwis living and working in Australia would lead to a brain drain.

The average salary in Australia is about $25,000 more a year than the equivalent in New Zealand.

“In terms of whether it will lead to more New Zealand moving to Australia, I don’t believe it will. I believe it will lead to New Zealanders are in Australia being treated more fairly, and we welcome that,” Mr Hipkins said. 

“But I’m absolutely confident that New Zealanders living and making a life in New Zealand will want to continue to stay in the home of the All Blacks, the true home of the pavlova and the lamington.

“There is plenty of reasons for them to stay back home in New Zealand.”     

Source: skynews.com.au

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