Tuesday, October 20, 2015
I have observed a sad change in the relationship between New Zealand and Australia over the last decade or so. The claims that we are more than 'bother (and sisters) in arms, is now distorted by political reality, mainly that emanating from the other side of the 'ditch!' Sure there has always been a bot of the 'I'm the bigger brother' in this relationship and I guess, up to a point most NZers accept that, simply because as a nation, NZ is a great deal smaller in many ways. Our shared history since colonial times has been a close one; forged on battlefields and in a strong economic link, then add on the sporting relationship and you basically have the 'deal.' But now it all seems to be fading, re the actions of the Australian Government to lock NZers who have been living and working there for decades, out of many of the benefits that go with living in that country. These range from a raft of supports and benefits that NZ offers to Australians who chose to live here, without becoming citizens. OK, they have a point re their sending back to NZ, those who have transgressed the law, beyond a certain point, but to send a Kiwi back who has lived in Australia for many years is simply not good enough. Those people have few or no links with NZ anymore and it is inhumane to follow the pathway we are witnessing. I am NOT referring to criminals who have been there for less than 5 years and who chose to break the laws of Australia in a serious manner. I believe that the time has arrived, where by NZ replicates the actions of our Aussie cousin: yes---send back those who mirror the behaviours of those we are about to receive, cancel any benefits and support that Aussies have enacted upon our people. Lets have a level playing field. Why should we subsidise those Aussies who gain from living here, if the same 'helpful' hand is not extended to Kiwis living in Aussie. That is not being selfish or small-minded; it is not being reactionary--it is simply fair. OR---we go back to some real dialogue and restore what has always been a special relationship in every sense of the word. I far prefer the last scenario than the one I just proposed, whilst feeling let down by our special friends across the Tasman. Lets have some fairness and common sense. Lets face it---the grass is not always greener over in Aussie and many of them may one day become a little jaded in their feelings re the fires, the big climate changes coming their way and a gradual lessening of the 'dig the wealth from the ground,' answer to their economic future. They may WANT to come here!