Hundreds of thousands of Kiwi citizens currently living in Australia will be disappointed to know that their rights have not changed after New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's visit to Australia. Greater economic rights were not on the agenda as far as Prime Minister Tony Abbott is concerned.
Despite the close ties between New Zealand and Australia, Kiwi expats still don't enjoy the same rights as their Australian counterparts living in New Zealand.
John Key became the second world leader to visit the Australian prime minister. Mr Key flew from New Zealand to Canberra on Oct 2 for a quick visit with Tony Abbott. Both leaders were scheduled to meet in Indonesia to attend the 2013 APEC Summit.
The two prime ministers visited the tomb of an unknown soldier on top of Canberra's Anzac Parade and laid a wreath before talking formally in the Parliament House office of Mr Abbott.
Journalists were told afterwards that the talks between John Key and Tony Abbott were productive and warm. The much awaited news of a change in economic rights for Kiwis who became residents in Australia was not heard.
An estimated 55,000 New Zealanders moved to Australia in 2012 but unlike Australians who moved to Kiwi country, Kiwis in Australia do not have full access to work rights and are still required to pay full taxes.
New Zealand-born Australian residents will not be granted permanent residency unless they offer skills that Australia badly needs.
New Zealand's prime minister has already brought up the topic with Tony Abbott. Mr Abbott said he wanted people who will go to Australia to work and pay taxes from the beginning. He was "delighted" that New Zealanders have been doing this for a long time.
John Key said New Zealand has long respected the arrangements that have been established between previous governments. He said the next move was up to Australia as far as granting more economic rights to Kiwis in Australia.
Mr Key understands that there was a deal between the Howard government and former prime minister Helen Clarke. Kiwis can expect that the Key government will still continue work for New Zealander rights in Australia. Mr Key said that in the end, it is the Australian government that will make the decision.
Meanwhile, Mr Abbott expressed his appreciation for the offer of Wellington's offer to help handle Australia's asylum seekers. Mr Abbott said that asylum seekers who will make it to Australia will not be allowed to stay there and neither will those who reach New Zealand.
The Australian prime minister also hoped to visit New Zealand sometime in 2014.
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