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Govt Admits Win-Win Oz Deal Was A Lose-Lose

Govt Admits Win-Win Oz Deal Was A Lose-Lose

Tuesday 23 Jul 2002

ACT Social Services Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said the Government has finally conceded its so-called `win-win' migration deal signed with Australia a year-and-a-half ago was a defeat for this Government and New Zealand.

"Last year the Labour Party signed away a decades-long special arrangement by which New Zealanders were automatically entitled to permanent residence in Australia. Under the new agreement New Zealanders were barred from obtaining most welfare benefits unless they could obtain permanent residence. It was the most significant foreign policy defeat ever suffered by a New Zealand prime minister. Helen Clark had the cheek to describe this disaster as a `win-win' deal.

"But now Foreign Minister Phil Goff is telling the truth. The Sydney Morning Herald this morning quotes him as having asked Australia to review its policy of restricting New Zealander's access to welfare payments across the Tasman. He goes on to say: `If Australia looked rationally at New Zealand migrants they would see they are a far greater asset than they are a liability'.

"This is quite remarkable. His Government threw away our privileged relationship with Australia and now with an election days away it is complaining about the situation as if it was someone else's fault. This is the same Government whose Prime Minister promised: `Labour will bring a new standard of accountability'.

"Well, the Government is accountable for this mess, and no amount of carping by Mr Goff now will change the situation," Dr Newman said.

Ends


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