Significant announcement about Kiwi rights in Australia expected, but 501 advocate, deportee think more can be done

In a historic move, New Zealanders living in Australia are widely expected to be given a pathway to citizenship this weekend when the Prime Minister heads across the ditch.

But a 501 deportee who had to restart his life in his 60s told Newshub there's more Australia needs to do.

Trauma haunts Adrian Solomon-Maere. He spent two years in the Australian detention centre on Christmas Island.

"A lot of the Iranian refugee people, boat people, they were setting themselves on fire," he said.

It nearly broke his spirit and broke his body.

"I walked onto Christmas Island. I came off Christmas Island in a wheelchair."

He moved to Australia when he was 27 - decades later he broke the law.

"I broke an intervention order. That's all it was."

Australia has softened the 501 policy, but thousands are still affected.

"Statistically, I believe it's just over 20,000 New Zealand citizens who have resided in Australia for long periods of time that could be placed through the deportation," said Filipa Payne, an advocate for deportees.

Payne wants the Australian Government to give deportees their full pensions. Solomon-Maere could only access $10,000 of his $90,000 super pile. 

"It would be one of the number one hugest impacts that Australia could have actually allowed to happen."

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said that's up to Australia.

"Ultimately the conversations I'll be having will be about New Zealanders rather than the 501 policy in general, that's ultimately a matter for Australia."

The Prime Minister is meeting his counterpart across the ditch this weekend. It's widely expected the Australians will announce they are going to make it easier for the 700,000 Kiwis living there to get citizenship.

Citizenship would mean Kiwis like Solomon-Maere can't so easily be deported and those in Australia can vote and have better access to benefits.

"They are in this kind of state of suspended temporariness. So they're permanently temporary in Australia," said Hipkins.

But Payne said: "They've abused us continuously. It's time for them to say sorry."

It's a call for an apology from the Australian government because advocates say these citizenship changes will come too late for many.