Sunday 10th Dec 2000
The Australian government has decided that New Zealand is a liability and not an asset. It was revealed yesterday that
the Government is preparing to let Australia cut permanent residency rights for New Zealanders, meaning we would be
treated the same as other migrants. New Zealanders with valuable skills will still be able to migrate and gain
residency. It is Labour’s own supporters who will now be unable to go to Australia.
ACT has been told that the Australian minister gave our government a choice – free entry to Australia and our government
pays Kiwi welfare costs or immigration restrictions. If the Clark/Anderton cabinet believed their own propaganda about a
growing economy, they would have honoured the spirit of CER and picked up the welfare bill.
But they, like the Australians, know the New Zealand economy is in terminal decline. Why would the Australians, if they
thought the New Zealand economy was going to turn around, be proposing immigration restrictions targeting the unskilled,
those who are most marginalised in an under-performing economy?
The changes represent a significant shift in the ANZAC relationship which, since the signing of CER, has been getting
closer. It also represents the worst foreign policy defeat of any New Zealand government and has compromised years of
The Australians recently described our contribution in defence as “useless”. Clearly decisions like the cancelling of
ANZAC frigates, F16s, and the refusal to go ahead with the Orion upgrade – all projects important to Australia, have
convinced the Australians that Labour is anti partnership and a convinced isolationist.
So the Australians are giving to most New Zealanders the isolation that Helen Clark seeks. Most Labour supporters will
now have no choice but to live in this country.
As a country we are paying a high price for our Prime Minister’s practice of making cheap political points as the
expense of Australian ministers – playing the man and not the ball. Clearly the Australians have had enough.
In just one week talks about welfare entitlements have escalated to a decision on residency restrictions for New