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Play it again John

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, February 8th, 2014 - 39 comments
Categories: australian politics, benefits, david cunliffe, Economy, john key, national, same old national - Tags:

play it again John Key

So John Key went to Aussie and managed to secure a significant concession by the Australian Government.  Apparently now kiwis who have emigrated and lived in Australia for a sufficient period of time will be eligible for student loans.

According to the Beehive site:

Mr Key welcomed Prime Minister Abbott’s confirmation that Australia would extend access to students under the Higher Education Loan Program to long-term New Zealand residents in Australia.

“It is in both countries best interest to provide educational opportunities for young people.”

Good stuff John.  Following hard on the heels of David Cunliffe’s correct assertion that the treatment of Kiwis in Australia is unfair it is good to see that he has been able to improve conditions for Kiwis living in Australia of which I am sure each of us know many.  And when you look at what the Australian Supermarket chains are trying to do to Kiwi food exporters this is a really sensitive issue.  After all Australia and New Zealand stand together and there is the CER Treaty and the ANZAC history and what is going on when Australian Corporates refuse to purchase New Zealand produce and when Kiwis in Australia are not treated the same as Australians here?

The Herald made the prospects of success seem distant.  Yesterday morning it said this:

Mr Key said that he would discuss the issue of New Zealanders in Australia with Mr Abbott, with some hope of making progress in the provision of student loans available to young Kiwis.

The previous Labor Government had agreed to make the loans available, but the legislation did not reach parliament before last year’s election that swept the Coalition to power.

Before the meetings this morning Mr Key said that the provision of student loans would be one of the logical steps Australia could take because they would provide what were essentially young Australians with access to higher learning.

But Mr Key said was “not overly hopeful” of any change of heart by Australia towards the rules introduced in 2001 that cut New Zealanders off from most Government services, programmes and welfare and effectively denied expatriates the means to gain permanent residency or citizenship.

And Stuff celebrated Key’s success.  Apparently …

Australia has agreed to extend access to student loans for the children of long-term Kiwi expats.

The announcement by prime ministers John Key and Tony Abbott is in line with proposals last year by the previous Australian Labor government.

The move was announced in a joint statement after a joint Cabinet meeting in Sydney this morning.

Key welcomed it as a “sensible and progressive step”.

The point that really irks is that the language used suggests that Key has achieved something when he has clearly not.  Australia has decided not to welch on an agreement previously reached and somehow we should thank Key?  How is it that a decision not to back away from a previous decision can be described as an agreement to extend access?  I mean, and I am trying to be level headed about this, DO THEY UNDERSTAND ENGLISH?  Describing inertia on the part of the Australian Government as a “sensible and progressive step” is twisting the English language well out of shape.

To put it all into perspective here is something that Murray McCully said in June 2013.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has welcomed a move by Australia to extend its student loan scheme to long-term New Zealand residents.

Australia’s Tertiary Education Minister Craig Emerson today announced many New Zealanders will, from January 2015, be eligible to apply for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) for tertiary education or vocational training.

“This is a positive step forward for both New Zealand and Australia. Making tertiary education more accessible will lead to increased employment prospects and a better educated workforce,” Mr McCully says.

New Zealand already extends student loans to Australians who have lived in New Zealand for three years.

Extending student loan access to New Zealanders resident in Australia was a recommendation of the Australia and New Zealand productivity commissions.

David Cunliffe has responded to this “news”:

John Key has got nothing out of his bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott but a re-announcement of a previous Government’s decision on student loans, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

John Key has tried to claim a win out of his meeting with Tony Abbott today in the form of agreement to extend student loans to children of New Zealanders who are long-term Australian residents.

“He is taking the New Zealand public and media for a ride. This decision was reached by the previous Labor Government in Australia and was announced in June …

There has been no movement on the crucial areas of social welfare for New Zealanders in Australia, who are still treated as second class citizens.

So Key is trumpeting that continuation of existing policy as some sort of diplomatic success.  The first impression from his press statement and the MSM is that he has achieved something of benefit.  But when you learn about the background and then read his press releases you realise that he has spun this particular “achievement” to within an inch of it being a lie.

Paula Bennett has announced and reannounced policy to give the impression that National is doing things.  It seems that John Key is now doing the same.

Play it again John.

39 comments on “Play it again John”

  1. felix 1

    So how about some progress on the aussie supermarkets? You know, the issue that he actually said he was going there to sort out.

    Guess there’s only so much you can do between rounds of golf and propping up bars.

  2. yabby 2

    How on earth can Mr Key and Mr Abbott step into commercial territory and effectively order Australians to be less patriotic? Even if such interventionism was possible with regards to the supermarket’s position on “Buy Aussie”, the customer’s may well choose to boycott themselves.

    As for the concessions (student loans)gained being too little, I understand that when Helen Clark signed up to the SCV for Kiwis, she and her Labour government negotiated far more lenient terms and that the Australian government sought. They wanted far more restrictive and draconian visa measures to stop the back door immigration that was occurring.

    • Olwyn 2.1

      In actual fact the more draconian measures would have made it easier for the people who managed to get through, but fewer would have been able to go in the first place. Those who got through would have faced exactly the same processes as migrants from elsewhere.

      Helen Clark’s choice under her own watch was probably the right one, since she was also keen on creating employment opportunities here, which would have naturally reduced the numbers migrating. This would have allowed a gradual drift back to the previous status quo. But since then, Australia has not only become the receptacle for NZ’s unemployed, it is also affected by NZ’s reliance on migrants to buy a broom and a mattress from the Warehouse and clean offices or drive cabs for a couple of years before transferring to Sydney. New Zealand’s lack of responsibility for its own citizens forms the background to Australia’s continued heavy-handedness.

      When a crisis arises, NZ cries “Save our upper middle class!’ while Australia cries “Save the Australians.” The New Zealand worker has the misfortune of not fitting into either category.

      • greywarbler 2.1.1

        I question some of your thinking. There was a thorough wipeout of the reciprocal arrangement NZ and Oz had. This resuslted in no or very few rights to welfare to NZs and help when in difficulty. And withdrawal of the right to apply for citizenship. More should be happening in NZ but that is a separate matter than us being discriminated against after we both signed the Closer Economic Region accord.

        Just demanding respect and continuation of rights should have been a standing point for Helen Clark. And benefits could have been delayed further if the Australians considered that NZs had to work for a longer period before entitlement. By the time they were eligible, those NZs would have proved their worth, and paid good amounts of tax.

        But no, no demands that I heard about, no long face and quiet annoyance. Business as usual, and I feel we were sold down the river. We are now just another P.I. – that has special work and entry permissions. That suits our government, because it gets the Oz visiting workers off our unemployment register. The charlatans.

        • Olwyn

          Greywarbler: As I remember it, Howard initially wanted to place New Zealanders under the same restrictions as apply to all other migrants. This allows them to extend their visas, apply for citizenship after a couple of years and so on, but also restricts their numbers. Helen Clark opted for the system that did not restrict the free flow of people between Australia and New Zealand, but that came with restrictions of its own, like not accessing Australian welfare and not applying for citizenship.

          I suspect that Clark thought that the loss of the free flow between countries would be hard to regain once lost, while the restrictions would be eased as the numbers going there dropped off. However, the GFC and John Key came along, so that the numbers going there increased, and the restrictions remained. It is also true that migrants have historically used New Zealand as a back door into Australia, by first gaining NZ residency. So while I think what Australia is doing is far too harsh, at least some of the blame is New Zealand’s for not following policies that lead to adequate employment, and ignoring the back door entry move.

          • greywarbler

            Okay.. I had forgotten these features. Thanks for updating. Too soft from our supposedly tough leader Helen. She should have bitten the bullet and cut back numbers, instead of losing our rights, in some calculated risk strategy. It is an illustration of what ought to be the case, that a referendum should be called for before allowing such changes. Not up to a pollie, a temporary driver of the country, who leaves behind people suffering unnecessarily.

            Could be there needs to be a fidelity fund that pollies pay into annually, and individually when their portfolio introduces swingeing changes.
            We could be offering some help now from it.

            • greywarbler

              I have just checked our Stats Dept for number of NZs living in Oz. Radionz said 600,000 and that is the estimated figure that Stats gives.

              There is also the OECD census of 2000 that shows 316,000 NZ-born people living in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 477,000 New Zealand-born people were living in Australia at 30 June 2006

              So that would be higher now. The 600,000 counted anyone who was a NZ which would include naturalised people.

              Then there are uncertainties whether stat figures include everyone eligible. It asks – Are the children and spouses of New Zealand-born people included, for example?

            • Psycho Milt

              She should have bitten the bullet and cut back numbers, instead of losing our rights, in some calculated risk strategy.

              She should have gone with ending free movement between NZ and Australia, for the sake of ensuring that some people who’ve effectively emigrated aren’t inconvenienced? That, if you don’t mind me saying so, is completely fucking nuts.

  3. irascible 3

    Key and Abbot would have spent more time on the Cricket World Cup rather than substantive issues as neither has any connection with reality preferring to spent the taxpayers’ monies on bread and circuses or playing impersonating playing golf with celebrities.

  4. Will@Welly 4

    Old slippery had something else in his mouth last night, and it wouldn’t have been a vegemite sandwiche.
    Tony would have been happy – “Chow time, Johnny!! Eat that.”

  5. alwyn 5

    You should be pleased Micky.
    Key is obviously taking lessons from your party’s beloved leader Cunliffe.
    You remember how Shearer (remember him?) scrapped the policy idea of getting rid of GST on food and vegetables?
    And then you will remember that Cunliffe announced it again as being his own brilliant idea, and had the gall to claim it gave him about a billion and a half extra to throw at other things.
    At least Cunliffe isn’t going back on his word when he attacks the Australian policies on New Zealander’s who live there not getting benefits. He hasn’t got a previous record on the subject as he was very, very quiet when the Government of which he was a member applauded their removal back in 2001.

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Urban myth Alwyn. This is from TV3 in March 2013.

      Labour is considering going back on one of its major election promises – GST-free fresh fruit and vegetables.
      It says it has to prioritise, but the tax break would be the third major policy the party’s scrapped since the last election, if they go back on it – and the Government says it’s impossible to know what Labour now stands for.
      “If we can’t afford policies then they will have to go. GST off fresh fruit and veg is one thing we’re looking at,” says Labour leader David Shearer.


      Notice Shearer said Labour was looking at getting rid of it, and not that Labour was getting rid of it.

      • alwyn 5.1.1

        You presumably understand the rules of the Labour Party, and I would have to say that I don’t generally waste my time reading them.
        However my understanding of them says that the policy of the party is developed by the various regional committees and is then decided at the annual conference. It then requires that the election manifesto must be in line with the policy.
        How, therefore, can Cunliffe unilaterally say that he is scrapping the committment to remove GST from Food and Vegetables? He doesn’t have the ability to do that if he is following the rules of the party does he?
        Shearer said, according to you, that Labour was looking at getting rid of it. He appears to be following the rules. Cunliffe says that they ARE getting rid of it. When was the party policy finalised in the way the rules appear to require?
        Are we to assume that Cunliffe was lying when he said it was being scrapped, as the only thing he could do was to campaign to scrap it?

        • mickysavage

          So which is it Alwyn? Did Cunliffe just announce again an already agreed position or is he unilaterally changing party policy?

          • alwyn

            I don’t know, but it surely must be one of them.
            Originally I thought he was merely re-announcing an already agreed position. That is what I said in the original comment.
            You have pointed out in your reply that that is not the case, and that Shearer had only said that it would be discussed.
            There appear to be only two options. The first is that the subject was discussed, and agreed. In that case Cunliffe must have been merely confirming an already agreed policy change. The second one is that he is, as he claims, making new policy, which appears to be in breach of the party rules as it appears he doesn’t have the right to do that.
            You are much closer to the Labour Party, I imagine, than I am. In that case can you advise me as to which of these two options is the correct one? I have had a look at the Labour Party policy and manifesto statements and I can’t see it anywhere in those.

            • mickysavage

              I was interested Alwyn because you chose to criticise Cunliffe for one thing and then for something which is completely different. Do you often criticise people when you have no factual basis for doing so?

              • alwyn

                Am I to be limited to criticising Cunliffe for only one offence? What an amazing rule.

                I said that Key, whom you criticise for his announcement, was merely behaving in the same way as Cunliffe. Key of course didn’t actually claim he had developed anything new. What he said was that the Liberal Government in Australia was going to implement a policy change that the previous Australian Labour Government had agreed to but never implemented. As commenters on this site have regularly pointed out an action by one Government cannot bind its successor. Key is being very sensible to reconfirm the new Governments intentions.

                I proposed that this was very similar to Cunliffe’s claims about GST. You say that the statements by Shearer (to discuss) and Cunliffe (to scrap) were not the same.
                This made me curious as to how the Labour Party does agree on policy. As far as I can see the MPs, and even the leader, don’t set the policy. That role is one for the various policy committees and the annual conference. It is this that lead me to question, therefore, how a unilateral announcement of policy by Cunliffe could possibly be in conformity with the Labour Party rules?
                As far as I can see I do have a factual basis to criticise him. I repeat, can you please explain how I have misinterpreted the rules that are supposed to govern his party?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Can’t you? With Cunliffe’s speech front and centre, you can’t see any reference to stuff that’s in the speech?

              That’s some epic bias you’ve got going on there.

              • alwyn

                With your statement right in front of me I am quite unable to understand what on earth you are talking about. Can you please clarify your thoughts for my edification.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Obviously Labour activists are all fired up about this flagrant breach of protocol, but they’re keeping very, very quiet about it. That’s the only possible interpretation of the facts. No, wait…

  6. Meg 6

    John got played. He got a tiny concession, and just wait, shortly will follow a backlash against kiwis and our exports to oz. John Key has been made a fool and he isn’t even aware of it.

    • felix 6.1

      Bullshit “Meg”.

      John got no concession whatsoever, and he knew he wouldn’t, and he didn’t even try because he doesn’t give a fuck.

      He didn’t get played, he played NZ.

  7. Meg 7

    Well considering the slight change in rules by the Abbott government, yes Key got something. So you are wrong on that account.

    As for getting played, Key thinks he got kiwis living over in Oz this great thing, so he got played. But I will say if he got this just to push in the nz media, then I will only agree he is trying to play kiwis. But pity for john he is losing his shine and he is not as clever as he thinks.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      You know what he thinks eh?

      If he is trying to play Kiwis, how can he get played by something that happens to Kiwis? Is he a player or not? If he’s a player, it’s the spin that counts, not the result.

      I think he’s a player, and that any intimacy between him and Abbot was about how to play this with their respective electorates, and little else.

      • Meg 7.1.1

        You are free to think what ever you like in an equal society. Equality for all is a good thing.

        John is not as clever as everyone thinks. He just has very good advisors I believe he thinks he got this great deal for kiwis in Oz and Abbott is thinking ” What a twit this guy is”.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          So he got something, he got played, he’s a player, his advisors are the real players, but they failed to see any of this coming, and Tony Abbott thinks he’s a twit.

          That’s all perfectly clear now. I’m glad you explained it.

        • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

          What Tony Abbott thinks is “thank Christ this guy isn’t an Australian citizen, or I’d be out of a job”. It’s a running joke of the “hahahaha that’s funny but no we’re totally serious” variety in the Liberal Party.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 7.2

      I think what’s more important is the combo “of the 600,000 kiwis in Australia, how many feel like John Key has done something important for them, and of that group how many are eligible to vote in the next NZ election?”

  8. nadis 8

    Whether the Aussie supermarkets use or don’t use NZ produced goods has nothing do with CER. CER sets the import rules under which goods from NZ can be imported into Aus (and vice versa). It has no impact on whether a corporate then buys those goods.

    What I have never understood is that when the Australian Government put in those restrictions on welfare, student loans etc, the government of the day (Labour) and every government since (National) didn’t make the same changes.

  9. Tracey 9

    Abott gets to do nothing. In return key gets to go to g20. What was the win for nz again?

  10. Tanz 10

    Key doesn’t care, it doesn’t affect him none of it ever does or ever will. Banker, heartless.

  11. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 11

    Abbott and the LNC won the last election on a platform of “if Labor for it, we agin’ it”. The new government is actively cancelling Labor programs and reversing Labor legislation.

    For John Key to get the new Australian government to implement a policy change that was agreed to to by the last Labor government strikes me as quite an achievement.

  12. Bob 12

    “The point that really irks is that the language used suggests that Key has achieved something when he has clearly not”, maybe he was just letting David Cunliffe know…… here is a David Cunliffe press release from 6 February 2014

    “It’s estimated around 100,000 Kiwis living across the ditch can’t access student loans, emergency housing, disability insurance, or social security benefits.”

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