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.