PM unconcerned about NZ’s relationship with Australia

Prime Minister Bill English

Prime Minister Bill English has shrugged off concerns New Zealand’s relationship with Australia is on the rocks and is the fault of Kiwis.

In fact, he says New Zealand puts more effort into the relationship than Australia.

Speaking at his weekly post-cabinet press conference, Mr English says New Zealand has a “deep operating relationship” with Australia.

The former chairman of the Australia/New Zealand Leadership Forum and the Australia/New Zealand Business Council, Kerry McDonald, told NBR Radio it was the fault of New Zealand that relations between the two countries have recently become frosty.

But Mr English is not concerned the transtasman relationship is under pressure.

“[The relationship will] proceed in the manner it has for the past decade I have been familiar with.”

 Mr McDonald says that because New Zealand hasn’t given Australians the “priority it should have,” it’s no surprise its government has implemented restrictive rule changes affecting Kiwis in Australia.

“The quality of [New Zealanders'] engagement [is] completely inadequate, given the nature of the relationship.”

He says for years, New Zealanders have not been putting enough effort into their interactions.

For example, simple things like neglecting face-to-face interactions and instead opting for phone calls has caused relations to get frosty over the years.

Mr Kerry – who has sat on numerous company boards on both sides of the Tasman – say because of the attitudes adopted by New Zealanders towards Aussies, the restrictive rules adopted by the Australians have been “a long time coming.”

The Australian government has recently imposed new rules that place restrictions on Kiwis in higher education and shook up the rules around citizenship.

Mr McDonald says New Zealand has “basically squandered the situation we had, which is being a highly valued and preferred ally, with good relations.”

Mr English says with respect to maintaining a good relationship with Australia, “it’s always the task of the smaller partner to do more work.”

“New Zealand has done more of the work in the relationship and will continue to do so.”


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16 Comments & Questions

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Of course he has bigger fish to fry. China, for example.

One belt one road one world under China.

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It's about time the NZ Govt took this seriously and addressed the ongoing inequality for kiwis living in Australia! We work, pay taxes and abide by the rules, yet we are treated like second class citizens, unlike our Aussie counterparts living in NZ. It's disgusting!!

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And they bowl under-arm.

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Lest we forget

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Phar Lap

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How are Kiwis treated to others in Australia is what is relevant not how Aussies are treated in NZ.

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... come home then ...

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All NZers need to appreciate how very lucky we are to have visa-free access to live and work permanently in Australia. Citizens of no other country in the world have that right. If a NZer wishes to obtain more rights than what the SCV affords (i.e. the right to social welfare, student loans, etc) then they can join the queue for Permanent Residency along with every other Australian immigrant who meets the strict requirements.

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Is the relationship as bad as when Air New Zealand bought Ansett and ran it into ground which so upset the Aussies that they grounded the Anset 767s due to imaginary safety issues. This bled Air New Zealand dry which then had to be bailed out by our government.
The relationship was so bad that Helen Clark got stranded in Australia as they wouldn't let her fly back and she had to be picked up by an New Zealand RNZAF P3 Orion submarine hunter that flew to Australia especially to pick her up.

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Bill, drop the company tax to under 20% and wait for the call from Malcolm.

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At least Mr MacDonald got some dumb Aussies to pay A$1.07 for Powerhouse shares in the IPO. Shame it was only for A $10m.

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Aussie Banks are controlling New Zealand with their Lending restrictions.

The game of Cricket the Aussies like to restrict our run rate so they can bowl the Kiwis out in quick succession.

Wake up New Zealand and get rid of the Aussie Banks control of our country!

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I am truely amazed at how Kiwis still look at Australia as the great country. It doesn't compare to Canada.

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Canada is cold. What are the comparisons that you have in mind?

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Perhaps we should let them win a game of rugby now and then!

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I for one am relieved that Bill English with his "not concerned" is maintaining John Key's legacy of being "pretty relaxed about" all and sundry.

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