Friday, 24 June 2011

Take care of Kiwis here, says John Key

Michael McKenna, Queensland political editor From: The Australian June 20, 2011 12:00AM

NEW Zealand is increasing pressure on the federal government to pay welfare benefits to its citizens living in Australia, with Prime Minister John Key putting the issue on the agenda for talks with Julia Gillard in Canberra today.

A series of anti-discrimination lawsuits have recently overturned decisions to deny New Zealand citizens social security benefits under 2001 Howard government laws that restricted access to permanent residents.

New Zealanders do not meet the definition of permanent residents because they do not need a visa to live in Australia under the free movement treaty between the two countries.

The Queensland government is being sued in the latest anti-discrimination case over its refusal to give financial aid to the Campbell family of Toowoomba, who moved to Australia in 2006. The aid would have covered daycare costs for their 19-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy.

After being ordered by the Anti-Discrimination Commission to enter mediation, the Queensland government last month used commonwealth laws to maintain its stance in refusing the family's application for financial aid.

In a letter obtained by The Australian, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the issue had been raised recently with the Australian government through its diplomats in Canberra. "The New Zealand High Commission in Canberra has also brought these matters to the attention of the relevant federal authorities," Mr McCully said.

A spokeswoman for Mr Key, who arrived in Canberra yesterday, said he hoped to raise the issue with the Prime Minister.

"It is expected Prime Minister Key will discuss areas of mutual concern and interest with Prime Minister Gillard, and one of those topics will possibly be the situation of New Zealand citizens living and working in Australia," she said.

In the Queensland case, Glenda Campbell said she could not understand why her daughter Hannah was not entitled to the benefits. "We arrived here in 2006 and my husband has been working and paying taxes," she said.

"Australians living in New Zealand are entitled to the same benefits we are being denied. This is not the way Anzacs should treat each other."


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  2. Ive lived in Australia since 2006 I have 2 kids one born in nz and the other ovet here there father is an Australian resident when we first arrived I went into centrelink to apply for a benefit they hax told me that I have to wait 2 years so I did wait 2 years I went back in there to apply then they told me they cant help me because i need a permanent visa so I gave up tried to get a job I got a job but it was seasonal it wasnt gonna last all year me and my partner had broken up he has the kids in his care because I couldnt apply for any payments now when we first came to australia centrelink knew we were partnerd but they put us under single parent pension for 8 months then they put us under partnerd I thought if you are partnerd I thought we both get paid but thats not how portland centrelink had done it they only payed him then me and my partner had broken up i had nothink u was staying wit family here there everywhere i had no money for rent or even everyday expenses im happy the kids are under his care cos if they were in mine I couldnt even supply anything for them but they are fine in there fathers care hes a good dad we have a really good relationship just for the kids he never stopd me from seeing my kids even if we aint together we get along for our kids its been 8 years now and every time I went into centrelink I tried to apply for the special benefit a crisis payment but they declined because that was for the boat people now didnt our soldiers fort against them back in the day now they are getting payed more than an australian I think that is wrong im here to live what more does your government want I think it is discremination the way your government treats us we are not boat people so please try help us new zealanders in hardship not the boat people thanks for letting me have my say thank you