Kiwis protest against Australian immigration laws

Photo / 'Iwi n Aus' Facebook page
Photo / 'Iwi n Aus' Facebook page

New Zealanders living in Australia are protesting tonight against "incredibly unjust and discriminative'' immigration laws.

The protests, organised by the `Iwi n Aus Foundation', are scheduled to take place across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia, starting at 8pm Australian time.

The group says legislation passed in 2001 blocks New Zealanders living across the Tasman from benefits including disability care, welfare and social housing.

"Australian and New Zealand families are being disadvantaged and penalised due to the current legislations,'' the group said.

"The system that is in place is not working and sadly many of the repercussions and consequences are being placed upon our children and our grandchildren.

"We stand united together in true ANZAC spirit fighting to change a system denying dignity and inclusion because we migrate from Aotearoa/New Zealand.''

Iwi n Aus, run by a group of mothers, said the discriminative laws affect not just their children but Australian-born grandchildren.

Founder member Erina Anderson told AAP that many people back in their homeland are unaware how tough things can be for New Zealanders living in Australia.

"If Prime Minister John Key wanted to stop New Zealanders from coming to Australia, there's one simple way thing he could do - tell people what they can expect,'' she told AAP.

"Nobody would willingly pick up their family and move across if they knew their children weren't going to be afforded equal rights.''

Ms Anderson told the news agency that many New Zealanders can't get permanent residency or citizenship because their occupations don't feature on Australia's wanted-skills list.

When Prime Minister Tony Abbott met his New Zealand counterpart John Key earlier this month, he said Kiwis enjoyed the unique privilege of being free to live and work in Australia without approval. But he wouldn't budge on New Zealanders' eligibility for other benefits, saying he expected migrants to be ``lifters not leaners''

"Thank God, the vast majority of them have been and will continue to be - and that's as it should be.''

- NZ Herald

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