12 Jun 2017

Govt meeting reassures Oz Kiwi lobby group

4:50 pm on 12 June 2017

A lobby group for New Zealanders living in Australia says it's confident the government is working to improve conditions for expats across the Tasman.

Campaigners are training to get more rights for roughly 200,000 New Zealanders living in Australia.

Oz Kiwi is a group advocating for the 200,000 or so New Zealanders living in Australia to get more rights. Photo: Supplied

Oz Kiwi members met with the foreign minister Gerry Brownlee and other officials at the Beehive today to ask for more vocal support as the rights of New Zealanders in Australia continue to be eroded.

The advocacy group said New Zealand expatriates were not treated fairly in Australia, being unable to receive unemployment or disability benefit and with no access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

They are also barred from voting, joining the Australian Defence Force, or working long-term for the government.

"If you're making a decision to live in Australia, it may be better that you seek dual citizenship," Mr Brownlee said ahead of the meeting.

Oz Kiwi spokesperson Joanne Cox said the government had promised to keep raising the group's concerns with the Australian government.

"We've had some off-the-record conversations with both the Minister's office and with other government officials today about what is happening behind the scenes and we're confident that we can work together and to get the message out there to those New Zealanders."

Ms Cox said it was in the interests of New Zealanders living in Australia long term to consider dual citizenship.

Mr Brownlee said the talks were very productive, and they agreed it was in the interests of New Zealanders who had lived in Australia for a long time to consider dual citizenship.

He said taking that action did not in any way diminish their New Zealand citizenship.

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