Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I saw a TV program about homelessness a while ago which used as its illustration of homelessness a man who was reduced to sleeping in his car after losing his job.  The man had come from New Zealand. This is not that co-incidental when you realise that the Trans-Tasman Arrangement gives New Zealanders an automatic right to come to Australia and stay indefinitely, but locks them out of Australian social security payments.  They’re fine if they’ve got a job, but not if they haven’t.

Anglicare Southern Queensland says the hardship for New Zealanders in Australia is increasing, with ‘lots of overcrowded houses with two or three families and lots of kids”.  Anglicare says we should lift the ban on unemployment and sickness benefits and pay them to New Zealanders in Australia.

But if that was all we did then we would generate an even greater exodus of New Zealanders to Australia than the present Arrangement does, because our social security system is more generous.  All out-of-work New Zealanders would be tempted to come to Australia.  Already over 648,000 New Zealand citizens, 12% of New Zealand’s population, is living in Australia. Of those, 84,700 were born elsewhere than New Zealand, and have come to Australia from a third country via New Zealand.

And Britain has had experience of open borders and a superior social security system.  It predicted in 2004 that around 13,000 Polish citizens would arrive each year after borders were opened, but in fact more than a million have arrived.

What might improve matters is if we renegotiated the Trans-Tasman Arrangement to put a cap on New Zealand migration of between 30 and 40,000 per annum, and then open up permanent residence and social security entitlements for New Zealanders who have been in Australia for a reasonable period.  I think this would be fairer all round. Australia would regain control of its migration program, and New Zealanders wouldn’t be at risk of sleeping in cars if they lose their job.


  1. Dear Kelvin,

    What possible evidence have you got to underpin your premise that treating Kiwis fairly would "generate an even greater exodus".

    Migration from NZ increased substantially AFTER social security was curtailed in 2001. This would strongly suggest to any rational person that social security is not a draw card. Kiwis come for better employment opportunities, not supposedly better welfare. Kiwis are significantly more likely to be in the workforce than Australian-born. To imply we are attracted by social security is not only factually false, it is offensive.

    Waiting periods for social security have been in place for decades. Do you really think an unemployed Kiwi is going to move to another country and wait years just to get a few dollars more than the dole pays in NZ?

    Also, your comparison with Polish in the UK seems to have some issues. The UK Office of National Statistics reveals only around 530,000 Poles residing in the UK as of August 2011 - with around 450,000 of them in employment.

    If they're attracted by social security then why are most of them working?

    On would hope our politicians make policy decisions based upon actual facts - not beat-ups in the Herald Sun.

  2. what about all of the Australians sleeping in their cars....who cares about the kiwis, they come here and take all our jobs....and work for less than we do...

  3. also the kiwis do not contribute to our welfare system at all, why should we all support them being on the dole is Australians who are giving their hard earned money to the government for welfare, not kiwis...