Abbott happy with current NZ welfare deal

NEW Zealanders in Australia ineligible for welfare benefits look unlikely to receive fairer treatment anytime soon, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying he’s very happy with the current situation.

There are 300,000 New Zealanders on special category visas in Australia, paying billions of dollars in taxes but who are denied some key benefits of permanent residency, such as disability care, welfare and social housing.

Australians living in New Zealand receive all the entitlements of citizens.

The issue is a sore point for many Kiwis, and was the first and last question asked by the New Zealand press pack during Prime Minister John Key’s first joint press conference with the recently-elected Mr Abbott in Canberra on Wednesday.

While Mr Abbott said he was happy to keep talking to Mr Key about welfare arrangements, he didn’t indicate much flexibility when questioned on the issue.

“New Zealanders have better access to Australia than the citizens of any other country and that’s right and proper,” Mr Abbott said.

“But I’m very happy with the situation that exists right now, which is that Kiwis coming here know that they’re expected to work and pay taxes from day one.”

Mr Key said he would continue to advocate for New Zealanders.

“There are some issues that would be best if they were addressed,” he said.

“(But) we totally respect the sovereign right of the Australian government to make the decision how it will treat people that come and work in Australia.”

Courtesy AAP

Administrator’s note:

Looks like no change to the status quo regrettably for our kiwi neighbours. They will continue to enjoy the right to live and work in Australia , but their restricted rights in terms of social welfare a tertiary education will stay.

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