14 May 2014

Australian budget could slow Kiwi flow

8:07 pm on 14 May 2014

Tuesday night's Australian budget should further slow the flow of New Zealanders to Australia, a financial consultant says.

Australia's government has outlined large tax increases, tighter welfare rules and cuts to health and education spending.

Fewer Kiwis could leave for Australia after Tuesday's budget.

Fewer Kiwis could leave for Australia after Tuesday's budget. Photo: PHOTO NZ

About 70 federal agencies will close with the loss of 16,500 civil servant jobs.

Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers Richard Forgan said the changes made Australia a less attractive destination.

He said the net migration of people moving back to New Zealand was likely to increase further.

"The New Zealand Government's finances are in a stronger position at the moment and unemployment is coming down significantly faster," he said.

Australian treasurer Joe Hockey said the budget would bring deep structural changes to the country's finances.

Erina Anderson Morunga, who founded New Zealand lobby group Iwi in Oz, also predicted many New Zealanders would move home after the budget further curbed already restricted access to welfare.

"We can safely predict that more and more of our New Zealanders are going to start packing up and going back to New Zealand," she said.

"It's not an issue about the dole. It's about safety nets and what's realistic. In the budget last night, they said if you're over 30 years old, you're going to have to stand down for six months."

New Zealanders who were struggling with little or no state support would suffer further with new cuts to welfare, education and health.

"Things are going to snowball. The budget being the way it is, I think it's going to speed up that snowball effect.

"Things are going to get worse quicker but we're still a long way off from people really fully realising.

"We need mass numbers to actually be totally informed and educated about this, and we don't have that yet."

Many New Zealanders in Australia still failed to realise there was no safety net if they fell on hard times, Ms Anderson Morunga said.