10 Dec 2017

Jacinda-mania reached Australia, says Labor counterpart

6:31 am on 10 December 2017

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will bring up issues around New Zealand citizenship across the Tasman while dining with the Australian Labor leader.

Jacinda Ardern and Bill Shorten before dinner.

Jacinda Ardern and Bill Shorten before dinner. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

During a flying visit, Bill Shorten had dinner with Ms Ardern in Auckland last night.

Ms Ardern said she wanted to discuss how New Zealanders were treated in Australia when it came to citizenship and education.

During the election campaign Ms Ardern said she would retaliate if the Australian government hiked education fees for New Zealanders.

That plan was shelved in October when it was blocked in the Australian Senate.

The plans included cutting subsidies for most permanent residents and New Zealand citizens, and instead charge them full fees at its universities, at the same time as allowing them to draw student loans.

"The on-going issue of New Zealanders and how they are treated in Australia continues to be something that we advocate with our Australian counterparts with every chance we get.

"Those being targeted are often long term residents in Australia who add value there, we know they are making good commitments, and they are ratepayers so we are simply seeking equal treatment," Ms Ardern said.

Ms Ardern has met with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull over New Zealand's offer to take 150 refugees from Manus Island.

She said the topic would probably come up with Mr Shorten.

"We haven't had a conversation on that but like I've always said for a number of reasons continue to work with Australia on that issue rather than anyone else."

Mr Shorten congratulated Ms Ardern on her new role as Prime Minister.

"Jacinda-mania has spread across the Tasman, we're here to talk about ideas and policies as Jacinda said there are some anomalies in the way New Zealanders are treated in Australia in terms of access to higher education," said Mr Shorten.

"We are keen to hear her ideas about the region, she is already showing global and regional leadership. When all is said and done while Australia has strong ties all around the world, New Zealand is family and we look forward to having many productive meetings in the future."

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