Kiwis want retaliation over Australian rights

A majority of Kiwis want the Government to strike back next time Australia tries to take away rights of New Zealanders living across the ditch, a Newshub-Reid Research poll has found.

The Australian government has been consistently chipping away at rights of New Zealanders living in Australia.

When asked if the New Zealand Government should retaliate next time it happens and take some rights off Australians living here, 57.6 percent said yes, 35.8 percent said no, while the rest didn't know.

Poll results

In the Newshub Leaders' Debate, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern committed to a retaliation.

"If they lock us out of tertiary education we'll lock them out here," she said.

The vote for retaliation was strongest among New Zealand First voters with 65 percent wanting us to strike back. Labour voters ranked next with 63 percent wanting retaliation, and a majority of National voters want it too - 54 percent.

However National leader Bill English says retaliation doesn't make sense - and Dr Timothy Gassin, chairman of advocacy group Oz-Kiwi, agrees with him.

"We're inclined against retaliation," Dr Gassin said.

"We think sometimes the Government could take a tougher stand, but the idea of just targeting Australians who've made their life in New Zealand - people who've contributed to our society, who are part of the community - isn't really going to help this.

"There might be a cathartic element of saying, 'We got back at the Aussies' - but as far as actually helping the situation, it's not going to do anything.

"Certainly we could try and put a bit more pressure on - but this idea of saying, 'We're going to retaliate, we're going to hit back at Australia,' is not particularly productive in achieving better results for New Zealanders in Australia."

Dr Gassin says for all the talk of Anzac spirit between the two nations, Australia has slowly been removing any privileges enjoyed by Kiwis over there.

"What they say and what they do in practice can be quite separate things.

"This is something I think New Zealanders should be concerned about: that whilst Kiwis in Australia can come back for education in New Zealand, they can come back and receive welfare benefits, they haven't been paying taxes here - they've been paying taxes in Australia.

"Australia's taking these people's taxes, they're taking the benefits of the labour and the benefits of their social contributions - but when something goes wrong, or when these people want to advance themselves in education, they have to come back to New Zealand."