I did not know we had two types of New Zealanders in Australia, those who were here before 2001 and those who arrived after. The pre 2001 Kiwis have many Australian privileges that the post 2001 do not. I think post 2001 Kiwis have to live here for ten years before they get the status of the pre 2001.
This was no doubt put into place to deter Kiwis from coming to Australia where they could immediately receive all benefits. Australia requested a contribution from the NZ government towards the cost of these benefits and the request was denied, hence the introduction of a second category of Kiwis.
Is it just? Maybe.
Perhaps some of the social security aspects are in our interests, eg unemployment benefits. But if they worked here and paid taxes for nine years, they are still not entitled to unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, free medical treatment or free education for their children. Their children will be treated as full fee paying foreigners.
While I don't know the the exact figures, many white New Zealanders go on to become Australian citizens and hence will have the status of an Australian, but they have to meet the same requirements as any non refugee immigrant. Oddly, Maori New Zealanders have a very low take up of citizenship, perhaps because of the Maori identity, rather than an Australian or New Zealand identity. Or maybe it is just too hard for many of them.
But there is one area where it all really went wrong and that was in the Queensland floods and the subsequent cyclone. The post 2001 New Zealanders, and there are a lot of them in Queensland, were not entitled to any government relief money, and that includes what you may have donated to the Premier's flood appeal. After some agitation in each case, one off agreements were made.
While the supposed bright lights of Australia and the job opportunities may seem very attractive to some New Zealanders, from what I have learnt about NZ over the past few years via my blog and bloggers in NZ, the bright lights of Auckland are just as bright as Australia's. Stay in NZ where you have family, friends and a life already. I am sure the career opportunities are just as good.
We have a curious relationship with New Zealand. But the next time you hear our Prime Minister Gillard saying to Kiwis, you are family to us, treat it with a little cynicism.