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How Kiwis joined the Labor Party to change policy on New Zealanders becoming Australian citizens

Prepare for a Kiwi invasion! Anthony Albanese’s government set to make it easier for New Zealanders to be granted citizenship – and how they’ve been quietly lobbying Labor

  •  Labor vows new policy on Kiwis become citizens
  • Treasurer Jim Chalmers promised Anzac Day policy 

Kiwis have been quietly lobbying the Australian government to allow them to become citizens again for the first time in more than two decades by joining the Labor Party.

New Zealand residents in Australia have, since 2001, been denied a pathway to citizenship and Centrelink benefits.

During the lockdowns of 2020, this meant those who lost their jobs were unable to receive JobSeeker unemployment benefits and had to dig into their superannuation savings to survive. 

Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Friday reiterated a promise for a new policy to be decided by Anzac Day on April 25.

‘This has been a big issue for a long time, and I wanted to acknowledge it in this forum – the difficulty that so many New Zealanders have getting on a pathway to citizenship in Australia,’ he told the Australian Banking Association and the Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch.

Kiwis have been quietly lobbying the Australian government to allow them to become citizens again for the first time in more than two decades by joining the Labor Party.

‘The intention is for those issues to be resolved, and for a new way forward to be settled, by Anzac Day – so in a few months’ time.’

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had been working on the issue with former New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and had continued that dialogue with her Labour successor Chris Hipkins. 

When Labor was in Opposition in Australia, New Zealanders wanting citizenship urged other Kiwis to join the Labor Party to effect change.

Vicky Rose, the co-ordinator of the Nerang Neighbourhood Centre on the Gold Coast, in 2020 urged other Kiwis like herself to become ALP members as New Zealanders who lost their jobs were denied welfare payments.

‘They’re the only ones that are likely to do anything for us,’ she told Daily Mail Australia at the time. 

‘We have to be political.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had been working on the issue with former New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and had continued that dialogue with her Labour successor Chris Hipkins

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had been working on the issue with former New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and had continued that dialogue with her Labour successor Chris Hipkins

‘You can’t just go, “I’m not interested in politics” because politics is exactly what puts us in our position so we have to think strategically and in my mind, this is the best pathway that we have here in Australia.

‘What do you think a political party needs? They need numbers: 647,000 Kiwis live in Australia.’

Labor Party membership in Queensland costs $25 at the concessional rate, rising to $50 for those on the minimum wage, $75 for those earning $50,000 to $75,000 and $100 for those earning more than $75,000 but less than $100,000.

Those on a low six-figure salary pay $150 a year rising to $200 for those earning more than $150,000. 

Mr Albanese flagged a faster pathway to residency and citizenship for New Zealanders living in Australia in July, just two months after Labor won the election.

But as new policy arrangements are worked out, applications for skilled independent 189 visa from New Zealanders are being frozen until July 2023, with that restriction having begun in December.

Until the citizenship rules change, Kiwis can stay in Australia indefinitely but they don’t have an easy path to citizenship, under a special visa category for New Zealanders, known as subclass 444,.

This loophole, however, allows them to join a political party.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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