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Australians should be kinder to Kiwis - Former PM

Former Australian prime minister John Howard says many Australians can be condescending towards Kiwis. File photo / NZPA
Former Australian prime minister John Howard says many Australians can be condescending towards Kiwis. File photo / NZPA

Former Australian prime minister John Howard wants his countrymen to be kinder to their Kiwi neighbours.

Mr Howard said too many Australians were condescending to New Zealanders and took for granted the relationship the countries shared.

Mr Howard's comments come in the same week a New Zealand man is facing charges after he attacked a television employee in New South Wales while in a rage about an advertisement poking fun at the Kiwi accent.

The ad features two animated kookaburras speaking with thick New Zealand accents saying "sweet as, bro" and "choice, bro".

In an address at Britain's Oxford Union this week, Mr Howard was asked about his working relationship with former Labour prime minister Helen Clark.

"I worked very hard to get our two countries closer together," AAP reported Mr Howard said.

"I think too many Australians take the Anzac relationship for granted. I think many Australians are condescending towards New Zealanders."

Mr Howard and Ms Clark led their respective countries for almost an identical amount of time.

Mr Howard, the leader of the Liberal-National coalition, was prime minister from 1996 to 2007, while Ms Clark's rein started three years later in 1999 and ended in 2008.

"Helen Clark and I were a long way apart philosophically ... (but) we worked together very closely and on a number of occasions she was very helpful to me," Mr Howard said.

He praised his conservative Kiwi counterpart, Prime Minister John Key, AAP reported.

"I like John Key, I think he's a terrific bloke and he's doing a tremendous job."

Mr Key was not available for comment this afternoon but a woman in his office said Mr Howard's words were flattering.

- APNZ

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