Dr Cullen's proposal for reciprocal trans-Tasman citizenship rights is an inept attempt to avoid squaring up with
Australia on welfare payments according to National's spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Simon Upton.
"The Australians didn't come down in the last shower. From their point of view, New Zealand is a country whose economic
wobbles are likely to see a rising number of economic refugees fleeing higher taxes, heavy-handed labour laws and all
manner of government meddling.
"Australians will find the idea astonishing, coming as it does from a government which has explicitly declined to take a
shared view of regional security arrangements. Why would Australians wish to take talk of common citizenship seriously
from a government whose only actions have been to increase the distance between the two countries?
"If Dr Cullen is after equal citizenship as a way out of making welfare payments, then he must face the fact that the
equality he seeks could only be achieved through statehood for New Zealand.
"The Government has no mandate to surrender New Zealand's sovereignty. And it has no chips to bargain with if it wishes
to," Mr Upton said.