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PM on trans-Tasman immigration issues

3 December 2000 Media Statement

PM responds to Australian newspaper article on trans-Tasman immigration issues

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the report in an Australian newspaper about Australian changes to the trans-Tasman travel agreement was a beat-up and had no substance as far as New Zealand was aware.

"Both countries are keen to see trans-Tasman travel agreements continue.

"Since the period the New Zealand economy spent in recession in 1998/1999, there have been significant numbers of New Zealanders migrating across the Tasman. Improving economic conditions in New Zealand should have an impact on that.

"The New Zealand and Australian governments regularly discuss immigration matters. The two countries both operate points systems for skilled migrants. A significant difference in border arrangements between the two countries, however, is that New Zealand has visa-free visitor entry with a wide range of countries whereas Australia has open movement over its border only for New Zealanders.

"New Zealand continues to judge it to be in its overall economic benefit to have wide-ranging visa-free visitor arrangements. It certainly assists tourism inflow to our country," Helen Clark said.


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