Kiwis second-class in Australia - Peters

  • 04/07/2016
Winston Peters (file)
Winston Peters (file)

Winston Peters has attacked the way Australia treats New Zealand immigrants.

The NZ First leader says most of the Kiwis coming home are returning because they're being treated as second-class citizens in Australia.

"Over there, New Zealanders can't access ACC, health, welfare and other benefits," he said.

"They have less rights than immigrants to Australia from Iraq, the UK, Bangladesh, Europe or Indonesia and all other countries as a result of the 2001 arrangement when Australia put its foot down on immigrants using New Zealand as a back door to Australia."

His comments were a response to Prime Minister John Key's explanation on Sunday of the high rate of migration to New Zealand.

He said one reason was that a strong economy gave Kiwi expats an attractive option, and the situation could change if the Australian labour market picked up.

Mr Peters thinks it's more to do with the way they're treated by Australian governments, and he doesn't believe those who come here from other countries are expressing a vote of confidence in New Zealand, as Mr Key has said.

"Wrong. Much of the world is a hell hole from which many are trying to escape," he said.

"We are the last choice for many after first being rejected by the UK, Canada and Australia, and the US - New Zealand is the last resort."