Hopes Australia's new government will help homeless New Zealanders after right to welfare taken away

A change in Australia's government could be the helping hand hundreds of thousands of Kiwis need. 

More than half a million New Zealanders live in Australia, but their right to vote and access social welfare was stripped from them in 2001, and new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hopes to bring it back. 

On the cold winter nights, Wentworth Park is where you'll find Whangarei's Richard.

"I'm the mayor. I'm the unofficial mayor." 

And the park is the unofficial home for the homeless.

"There's 10 here, that is a lot."

All 10 of them are Kiwis, and homeless man Jason told Newshub he has lived at the park on and off for six years. His entire life, his food, shoes, and clothes - it all fits on a couple of mink blankets. 

"When you lose everything it's really hard. Trying to gain everything back."

Our countries' close ties allow him to live endlessly in Australia. But that's where the help ends. 

"It makes it hard for us here in Australia."

It's believed that more than half of the homeless in Sydney are Kiwis and they all say the same thing. They can't get access to the same help as their Australian friends.

Benefits, government housing, and voting rights, it's all off-limits to tax-paying New Zealanders, whose rights have eroded over the years. 

In 2001 John Howard removed the right to an automatic Australian passport, and Malcolm Turnbull created a new avenue in 2016 - but only for those already in Australia.

Everyone moving over since is on their own, and it's believed that's up to 200,000 Kiwis.

But Albanese is hopeful he can once again "smooth out the path to citizenship to people from New Zealand, of which there is a substantial number".

Until then, every night at 7pm in Sydney, homeless advocate Will Hawes feeds, clothes and keeps the homeless company. 

"I see New Zealanders on the streets every day," he said.

He is the frontline, and often the only one, helping Kiwis. 

"Whatever we can do to make sure they have a safe and happy life. We're all the same blood aren't we."

Russel Rauhihi knows it well after he was helped off the street and into a home. 

"Will's the man," he said.

"A lot of Kiwis are struggling. I don't know if they're running from problems. I did."

But the Kiwis form a kind of family away from home. 

"They know how to look after each other, to me over the years I've seen it."

Looking out for each other on the streets. And now, with a change of government, hoping there might be a little extra help coming to get them off them.