Key Points:

Poking fun at Australians has been something of a national sport for decades, but now New Zealand's tourism bosses want less teasing and more visitors.

The plea, which may astonish patriotic Kiwis, is a serious one and comes as New Zealand tourism agencies take the bold step of adopting Australia's national colours as a marketing tactic.

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This forum debate has now closed. Here is a selection of your views on the topic.

I am all for a Be-Nice-To-Australians month. And from the 1st of April, I will be looking forward 1000 years or more to the next one.

Dick Martin
How can you be nice to people whom 90 per cent of do not know where NZ is or even that it exists? To the average Australian, New Zealand means zilch.

It just shows how petty and pathetic and small minded many people in NZ are. Its all about jealousy and envy that Australia is now a better place to live than NZ. What does NZ have to be proud of? The child abuse, the youth gangs, the crumbling education sector, the so called public health system, the crime rate, the pathetic infrastructure ,the lack of vision, the ineffective self serving politicians, the joke that is the treaty of Waitangi?

Justus Tonks
We New Zealanders have long suffer from little brother syndrome, but I do not think it is such a big deal, really. We love to make fun about the Aussies and, presumably, they do the same to us. There's nothing wrong about it. In fact, it might be the thing that builds our bond stronger. In most parts, except in sports, Australia has always been our closest ally. I enjoy my Australian jokes, but after all they are just jokes; I never really mean to insult them in any way. We are all adults, and we know the limit. Really, it would not discourage the Australians to come at all. But by writing an article with such a title on the most-read NZ daily paper, we might have insulted them and therefore hinder them from visiting our little heaven.

Trish de Thierry
We could send Australia back its possums. They are a protected species in Australia and children love making pets out of them.

Paul Brooks
My impression of New Zealand will always be tainted by the sight of our Sevens rugby team being pelted with bottles and other objects at the opening march past a few years ago. Security just looked on amused and the NZRU thought it a great joke. And please spare us the boring rugby jibes. Do no't you know it is a very minor sport over here? A lot of Aussies do not even know the difference with the other rugby code.

B Herbert
Things would be truly rotten if we treated Aussies the way they treat us. That poor big dusty island is surrounded by sharks and inhabited by dingos and experience has taught us that neither species can pay their bills. I could not possibly be rude to a little Aussie. It is beneath my dignity to insult the useless.

Maria G.
To an outsider, the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia can be bemusing at times, but too often it turns unpleasant. Constantly ridiculing another persons culture or nationality should not be acceptable under an circumstance, especially in public dialogue. I get the impression New Zealanders are so used to disparaging their Tasman neighbours, they no longer realise how unpleasant it is to have such a censorious tongue when speaking of other cultures. I have heard more than my share of unpleasant, and might I add, completely ignorant comments from New Zealanders about American culture since I hae been here. By the way, I think New Zealanders must ridicule Australia way more than the reverse. I do not think Australians are constantly comparing themselves to NZ. They do not need to. But New Zealanders so obviously display their inferiority complex by doing so.

My partner is Australian, and I get tired of the constant jibes he gets for this mere fact. Yes, most are in good jest, but honestly, it gets old very quickly. When we visit Australia, I do not feel I get picked on half as much for being a kiwi as he does over here for being an Aussie. We should find something better to talk to our Aussie cousins about.

M Woods
I have always found Kiwi ribbing of Australians as pathetic and childish. There is such an ignorance underlying the resentment at being beaten in sport. It smacks of an inferiority complex. Oz ribbing of us is usually in terms of sheep or quake jokes and does not hit home as it is clearly ludicrous. When I have travelled it is great to meet Oz tourists as we have such strong bonds. Get real and stop this lopsided Trans-Tasman abuse.

William Burt
Where is your national pride? You have built a national ethos of denigrating, abusing, accusing and insulting us; why would you add hypocrisy to you many national traits? Continue on "in character"; hate us, envy us, resent us but whatever you do be consistent. I do not think any Australian really cares whether you like us or are nice to us. Get on with your normal lives.

Edwin Rogers
Meeting a neighbour wearing a black, "Save the world, kill an Aussie" T-shirt, in Auckland, is unsettling to say the least as I am an Australian living in New Zealand. I neglected to reveal this private detail at that time in the interest of cordiality but have reason to now treat all I meet with caution. Thankfully, I find this attitude is rare. Most Kiwis just want to get along and occasionally to be nice. A federation will however have to wait a bit longer, I am afraid, judging by attitudes revealed at a recent dinner when a plonked New Zealand woman ripped into Australians as a nation of Irish criminal class alcoholics who eat Aboriginal babies and who cheat at cricket. She was onto her fifth glass of Wyndhams Cabernet Sauvignon and later that evening to be discreetly reminded by her husband that I prefer vegetarian. Nice to an Aussie month looks like a good idea, if only to give New Zealanders a reason to consider the good things we share and enjoy, besides each others company.

"These days in Australia, you barely ever hear anyone even mention the fact that the price of lamb in New Zealand has gone up to $2.95 an hour." Yeah, because they are too busy implying we shag sheep. Seriously did this guy hang out with any real grass roots ockers? Last time I was there I had to keep saying chips over and over. I do not make Ozzies say six.

They will always be our mates, poking fun at each other. They will always be around. Whatever people think they are a lot like us. We need them more than they need us; trade, sport and a first stop for kiwis wanting to earn bigger bucks, more holiday time, superannuation, medicare, cheaper housing, and a place to start your OE.

Graeme Petrie
Of course we should be nice to Australians because we need them more than they need us.They are more laid back and friendly than New Zealanders and they do not have this childish thing about knocking Kiwis like we do to the Aussies but I guess its our inferiority complex. Also when they eventually stop Kiwis going to live in Aussie we will wish we had not knocked them. Its time New Zealanders matured and got over the attitude of knocking the Aussies just because they are bigger and better than us at most things.