Bill English certainly hasn’t inherited his predecessor’s ability to charm his way into the Australian Government’s hearts if the latest attempt to freeze out Kiwis in Australia is anything to go by, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
“Today’s news that Kiwis living in Australia will have to pay full tertiary fees under proposed changes by the Australian Government shows Bill English can’t maintain the bromance enjoyed by his predecessor.
“While New Zealand students will get access to student loans in Australia this won’t go nearly far enough to make up for the additional cost of full fees.
“The Australian Government has walked all over us again, only a couple of weeks after it appeared the deal between John Key and Malcolm Turnbull was being ignored by new immigration regulations that lumped Kiwis in with the rest of the world.
“So much for the close trans-Tasman relations that National like to talk up. How can Bill English allow himself to be blindsided by this, especially after he had a discussion with Malcolm Turnbull just last week about immigration changes?
“Bill needs to pick up the phone, get clarification from the Australian Government and make sure Kiwis receive the same exemption for studying higher education over the ditch in the interests of fairness.
“Australians studying in New Zealand are treated as domestic students here and therefore don’t pay full fees. All we want is a fair deal with our closest neighbours, but once again it feels like we’re getting the short end of the stick.
“We need a Government that will stick up for the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia or else all the talk of close trans-Tasman relations is only that – just talk,” says Chris Hipkins.