Kiwis think Aussie is a fair dinkum partner - but no more

By Greg Ansley

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

New Zealanders and Australians feel pretty good about each other - the Aussies like us more than anyone else in the world, and we overwhelmingly think Australia is a fair dinkum partner.

But neither of us are keen on going much further.

We are divided on whether it would be a good idea to become a single country, we don't want an Anzac dollar, and the Aussies are more dubious about the gains from knotting our economies even more closely together.

These findings are from the latest annual Lowy Institute poll, testing the mood of Australians on a wide range of foreign policy issues.

The institute also took New Zealand's pulse with the help of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The poll's "thermometer" found that Australians feel warmest towards New Zealand among the 19 countries included its survey, with 85 "degrees" putting us at the top of their affections.

The United States and Japan were second and third.

But being in the same immediate family is a different question.

Most Australians are now opposed to a single currency, with 54 per cent rejecting the idea compared with 42 per cent five years ago.

Kiwis are also less enthusiastic: opposition has risen four points to 46 per cent.

Feelings differ on further integrating the transtasman economies.

More than two-thirds of Australians think the present level of integration is "about right", with 17 per cent saying its has not gone far enough and 6 per cent believing we have already gone too far.

The poll found 42 per cent of New Zealanders want further integration, while 39 per cent feel it is about right.

It also asked who would benefit most if the two countries became one.

And it found that 37 per cent of Australians believed a political merger would be bad for both, 35 per cent that it would be good for both, 17 per cent that it would be good for New Zealand but not for Australia, and 7 per cent that it would be good for Australia but bad for New Zealand.

Kiwis are even more dubious.

The poll said 43 per cent thought the move would be bad for both, 24 per cent good for both, 12 per cent good for Kiwis but bad for Australia, and 15 per cent good for Aussies but bad for New Zealand.

But it found that 80 per cent of New Zealanders believe Australia has been a good partner.

The Aussies, meanwhile, don't put too much faith in our muscle.

Not surprisingly, only 4 per cent see us as their nation's most important security partner in the coming decade, although we make the top five - behind the US, Britain and China, and ahead of Indonesia.

- NZ Herald

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