Homeless Kiwi advocacy groups in Oz seek NZ Govt assistance

By Mānia Clarke

Some Australian advocacy groups are also calling on the New Zealand Government to put pressure on the Australian Government to relax its residency laws for Kiwis.  The call comes in the wake of an increase in homeless New Zealanders across the ditch.  

In 2001, Australian legislation prevented Kiwis who moved there from 2001 onwards from qualifying for social services and financial assistance.

Melbourne Tautoko Whānau Inc founder, Patrick Davidson says, “It infuriated us, until we found the way to get around it by helping our own people, but it still annoys because we're supposed to be brothers, we're supposed to be ANZACs, were supposed to be brothers Australia and New Zealand, being their closest neighbour, the treat us worse than anyone else.”

Now, New Zealand politicians are being called on to help.  Earlier this year, Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox spoke with these advocacy groups.

She says for some Māori it's too late, “Gold Coast health workers told me that the majority of suicides there are Māori, which is due to the financial pressures since the law change in 2001.”

Fox and the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee are preparing a submission to present to Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull at the end of this month.