John Key met the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in Queenstown at the weekend. They discussed a number of things including the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia. Ms Gillard said that New Zealanders are like family in Australia and can live and work there without a special visa. They also get the same medical care as Australians. However, they cannot get an unemployment benefit if they lose their job. The problem is that there are many New Zealanders living in Australia but only a few Australians in New Zealand.
Australia has hundreds of boat people living in camps. John Key said New Zealand will help by taking some of these refugees. New Zealand takes up to 750 refugees each year. These boat people will be some of our 750 so we will take fewer refugees from UNHCR next year.
John Key and Julia Gillard also talked about roaming charges for mobile phones. About 1 million Australians visit New Zealand every year as tourists or on business and it is very expensive to use their phones in New Zealand. The same thing happens when New Zealanders visit Australia so the two Prime Ministers want to reduce roaming charges.
The two Prime Ministers visit each other once a year to discuss trade and other important matters.
• rights – e.g. right to live in the country and to vote
• boat people – they arrive in Australia from Indonesia, by boat, without a visa
• refugees – people who have to leave their country because of war or their religious or political beliefs
• UNHCR – United Nations High Commission for Refugees
• roaming charges – you pay more to use your phone in another country; this is called roaming