Kiwis In Australia Protest Negative Media Image

By Editorial 03 January, 2014

New Zealanders living in Australia are crying foul after newspaper reports on Kiwi expats suggested that many recent arrivals are "layabouts" who have come to Australia in search of benefit handouts. The reports also claimed that New Zealand was serving as a "backdoor" to Australia for migrants from Asian and Pacific nations.

The number of New Zealanders living in Australia has increased by 40 percent since the start of the financial crisis in 2007, although figures released in 2013 show that New Zealand's yearly net loss to Australia is now in decline and is at its lowest level since 2009.

New Zealanders have the right to reside in Australia indefinitely, but are ineligible for unemployment benefit unless they have lived in Australia for at least ten years, and even then there is a six-month cut-off point.

Campaigners complain that it is unfair that the restriction exists even in cases where New Zealanders have paid tax, and there are claims that some New Zealanders are currently living in hardship.

David Faulkner, who runs the OzKiwi website, condemned the articles as "unlawful racial vilification" based on "deceptively presented and ill-interpreted statistics." Citing Government figures, Faulker said that New Zealand-born residents of Australia actually have a higher rate of workforce participation compared with those born in Australia. OzKiwi adds that the largest number of foreign-born New Zealanders living in Australia are actually originally from Britain.

Faulkner is gathering signatures for a class action against News Corp, which ran the stories in its newspapers. He argues that the reports breach Australia's Racial Discrimination Act.

Tags: Australia | New Zealand | Expats | Working Abroad | Welfare | Work | Working Abroad | Working Abroad |


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