Friday, November 27, 2015

Senator Ian MacDonald and ANZAC

Queensland Senator Ian MacDonald has been quoted as saying.

"If Kiwis want a better deal on controversial deportation laws and access to social welfare, New Zealand should become Australia's seventh and eighth states."
Senator Ian Macdonald also disputed the need for an easier path to Australian citizenship for Kiwis, saying he believed it was "not a terribly onerous thing to do".

I have sent him the following email. Information inside brackets was not included.

'I was born in Australia in 1944 and lived and worked all my life there until in 2010, at age almost 66, I migrated to live in New Zealand. 

I was given the age superannuation backdated to the day I arrived.  Centrelink pays my (Australian) age pension to the NZ government but, due to the assets test, it is just over half the amount I receive from the New Zealand Government. (Everyone who is 65 and over receives the full age pension in NZ but it is taxed, Australian age pensions depend on involved assets and income tests requiring me to send regular information about major expenditure).  I also received a Gold card within a few weeks giving me all senior transport concessions. I was able to register at a pharmacy and medical centre immediately to receive the same benefits as if I was a NZ citizen. After 2 years I can have the same access to hospital care for non urgent surgery. (Urgent surgery was available immediatey as for Kiwis in Australia)

I was asked to register within a month and, after a year, I received full voting rights. (This was as a resident, you must be a citizen in order to vote in Australia).  As I have left Australia permanently, I have lost my voting rights there. This would not happen to a US citizen nor to a NZ citizen as long as they returned for a visit every 3 years.  I return to Australia at least twice per year to visit family.

For the first 4 years I was not required to pay tax on my Australian income  - shares and term deposits and  I have received a ruling that I need not pay tax on my Australian private superannuation fund.

In September this year I applied for citizenship. I now fullfill the 5 year residency requirements and, after a check there was no criminal record, I received a letter granting me citizenship 10 days ago.  I will probably swear my allegiance at a ceremony at the beginning of February and then apply for a NZ passport.  I am unsure as to whether I will renew my Australian passport as I would only use it to enter and leave Australia. The NZ passport is more highly regarded around the world.

I now have many friends whose children have migrated to Australia. One tells me his son has lived in Queensland for nearly 20 years, his children were born there but he cannot get citizenship as his job as a postman is not one Australia values. (I have never worked for a wage in NZ)

So almost daily I am embarrassed at the completely opposite reception I have received here in New Zealand compared with that for those who have gone the other way. The ANZAC tradition is not just words over here. This includes an article in our local paper today referring to an interview you gave saying "NZ could join us”.  I am sure my friends will be insulted as am I, having just become a proud Kiwi.  As I tell people, Australia is my country of birth but New Zealand is my country of choice.

Saturday, November 21, 2015