'Kiwi' to fight for rights in Oz

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2013

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A former Waikato Regional Councillor has called for the end of discrimination against Kiwi expats across the ditch and filed an application to register a new political party to contest the Australian Senate.

Darryl Smith, 72, was from Bendigo, Victoria, but lived in Hamilton for 40 years and vowed to fight against Australia's unfair policy.

He established the Consensus Australia Party and intended to run as a candidate for the Western Australia state elections as a New Zealand resident.

"I'm coming up front because I think something can be done about the malaise," he said.

During a speech at Australia-New Zealand Leadership forum in Sydney yesterday, Labour leader David Cunliffe called for "equal treatment and the same respect" for Kiwi expats in Australia.

In 2001, changes to the social security law limited access to government services, voting and barred expat Kiwis from applying for citizenship. Children born in Australia to Kiwi parents do not automatically qualify for citizenship.

During talks with Prime Minister John Key in October, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said changes to discriminatory laws were unlikely, but Mr Smith said Kiwis paid tax and engaged with society and should get the same access to services as other permanent residents. "I can't understand why Australia is treating NZ residents in such a miserable way."

Australian immigration statistics showed that more than 647,000 New Zealanders were present in Australia in June 2012 and Mr Smith said Australians needed to speak out against their unfair treatment.

"I've been very aware of the power of one," he said. "I'm just taking a view that one person can achieve a lot if they set their mind to it."

He was the head of computer science at Waikato University and was elected to the regional council for three consecutive terms between 1992 and 2003.

He said most Australians were fair-minded people but the rule changes reflected a "hidden redneck behaviour" at a policy level and hoped his move would ripple through his homeland.

"I'm not going to lay in bed worrying about whether I am successful or not. I just have a deep belief that if I launch it properly, I'll get my 500 hundred members in no time flat."

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- Fairfax Media

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