PM admits changes at airports possible

By Greg Ansley

Australian PM Julia Gillard and New Zealand PM John Key. Photo / Getty Images
Australian PM Julia Gillard and New Zealand PM John Key. Photo / Getty Images

Prime Minister John Key will talk today with his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard about the disclosure of criminal records.

As revealed in the Herald on Sunday last week, Australia is keen to improve the flow of information across the Tasman in the wake of high-profile cases such as that of Joel Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, the New Zealander charged with stealing millions of dollars from Queensland Health.

Key said further work was needed to improve the exchange of information, and indicated the present system of voluntary disclosure of criminal records on immigration cards could be reviewed.

Australia also appeared likely to clear a new way for New Zealanders to gain residency and citizenship across the Tasman.

Although details have yet to emerge, it seems likely New Zealanders may be able to apply to become residents after a qualifying period, probably several years.

As many as 100,000 expatriate Kiwis are believed to have been caught by rules that allow them to live and work on temporary visas but exclude them from welfare.

Further problems surfaced during Victoria's Black Saturday fires and last summer's floods and cyclone in Queensland, when New Zealand victims were at first denied access to emergency assistance.

Key said yesterday that Australia was now working on a new pathway to residency and citizenship. He said it was on track to being achieved and "all signals are that this will happen".

- Herald on Sunday

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