It's a sorry pass when our Government starts making excuses for the clenched fisted Ocker shockers.

It seems the Beehive's big wigs were blind sided again by the Aussies in their latest move against kiwis living in their country. The privileged position New Zealanders once had on the other side of the ditch is being whittled away.

This time in a major policy shift the Aussies are planning to treat kiwis like foreign students there, meaning they'll pay the full fee for tertiary study when previously they'd been treated like locals with subsidised fees. As a sop the Aussies say that for the first time they can qualify for a student loan, which aren't nearly as generous as they are here.

As usual our Government's reaction is a softly softly approach, banging on about our special relationship and, as an excuse for the latest imposition, they say the Australian economy's not as strong as ours and the moves are budgetary. But at least they're now willing to discuss the wider issue, with Bill English saying we want a better basis for this type of policy making than what we're getting as part of our long standing, constructive relationship with Australia.

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And our new Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee, as he prepares for his first trip abroad in his new role, seemed to have a handle on the issue pointing out we have for decades treated each other as fellow citizens which began changing in 2002 and he wants to know what else they might be thinking about. Well, hopefully he'll find that out when he visits Canberra tomorrow.

But both Brownlee and English aren't looking at treating Aussies here the same as they treat us there though.

Brownlee says we're not into tit for tat and English says when he spoke to Malcolm Turnbull last Friday about another move that worried kiwis there, he didn't tell him about the student proposal. But he believes in positive engagement rather than retaliating against Aussies living here.

Why we're pussy footing with the Aussies while they're jack booting us on the other side of the Tasman is difficult to understand.

Certainly the populist Winston Peters is baffled, saying the backslapping by our Prime Ministers is "bulldust" and it's sad but we're second class citizens in Australia.

Peters could conceivably be the next Foreign Minister, as he was just a few years after the rules for kiwis in Australia changed, and was asked what he'd do if he had the job again.

For starters he said he'd apologise to them for allowing this country to be used as the back door welcome mat for people settling here and then skiving off to live there.

Yeah well the last time they said they were sorry was for that underarm bowl, ironically in the same year they required us to carry passports, so it's difficult to see that cutting the mustard!