New Zealanders will rally together in cities around Australia
to protest what they call unjust and discriminative
The rallies today, organised by the Iwi n Aus Foundation,
will take place in Queensland, South Australia, New South
Wales, Western Australia and Victoria.
About 300,000 New Zealanders live across the Tasman on
special category visas. This means they pay taxes but don't
get access to benefits of permanent residency such as
disability care, welfare and social housing.
The restrictions were brought in under a joint agreement
between Australia's Liberal government and Helen Clark's
Labour government in 2001.
Iwi n Aus, run by a group of mothers, says the discriminative
laws are affecting not only their children but their
Founder Erina Anderson says Kiwis often cross the Tasman with
no concept of how bad it can get for them 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
She says through her work she sees many New Zealanders
suffering from mental illness and extreme financial stress
after falling on hard times in Australia.
Many Kiwis can't get permanent residency because their
occupations aren't on Australia's wanted-skills list, and
therefore also can't get citizenship, she says.
Families in Australia also have children with different
rights, depending on when and where they were born.
"How do you say to your children who are going through high
school, the ones of you who are citizens or permanent
residents can go to university because you can get a student
loan, but sorry darling you can't because you were born in
Kiwi mothers and fathers are not entitled to single parent
payments, so even if their children are born in Australia,
the death of their Aussie spouse or a separation could leave
them without the means to support their children.
Her Australian foster kids have been disadvantaged by her New
Zealand status, missing out on carers' payments for their
special needs, Ms Anderson says.
"If I knew what I know, I would not have come," Ms Anderson
"No way would I have brought five kids across the Tasman and
many of us feel bad that we have."
But it's not as simple as just packing up and going home, she
"Does that mean my sons who are fathers to Australian
children, should they leave?"
"Should they abandon their partners to go back to where they
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he
expected New Zealanders to be "lifters not leaners".
But Ms Anderson says it's not about Kiwis mooching off
"I wouldn't be wasting my time lobbying for the dole, I've
got better things to do with my time."