The trans-Tasman relationship between the Key and Turnbull Governments has reached a new level of mutual respect and intimacy not previously seen during the decades since the signing of the CER agreement in 1983.
This bodes well for both countries’ economic, diplomatic and security future.
Over all those years there has been some fine talk from Australian leaders about the special relationship between the two countries but it’s fair to say that, from a New Zealand perspective, there’s been precious little action on a range of issues affecting Kiwis.
Even when Julia Gillard addressed New Zealand’s Parliament, in what was a first for the two countries, she was unable or unwilling to change policy that was causing political and diplomatic tension. She did say she wouldn’t challenge the world trade decision on apples but, as seen with Kiwi eyes, that was perhaps making a virtue out of an original sin.
So, Prime Minister Turnbull’s initiative to lay a pathway for some Kiwis to Australian citizenship is a significant one.
No previous prime minister – Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard et al – has actually implemented a New Zealand request for a change to Australian domestic law to accommodate its citizens living in the Lucky Country.
This is basically correct. Turnbull is the first PM since CER to actually change Australian law to benefit New Zealanders living there.