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Aussie senator vows to fight 'absolutely disgusting' visa system for Kiwis living across Tasman


An Australian independent senator is vowing to fight for New Zealanders living across the Tasman, using her position as a key vote in Scott Morrison's government.

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She wants to make sure New Zealanders are given the same rights as Australians, if they move across the Tasman. Source: Q+A

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Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie says it's "absolutely disgusting" there's a specific visa just for New Zealanders. Source: Q+A

Q+A reports Jacqui Lambie is former soldier and now a no-nonsense Tasmanian senator who wants to make sure New Zealanders are given the same rights as Australians if they move across the Tasman.

Australian laws were changed almost 20 years ago, taking away permanent residency for New Zealanders on arrival and their access to healthcare, welfare and education.

"As far as I'm concerned we're all one. We're all Anzacs. And that is the way it's always been and that is the way it should remain," Ms Lambie says in a report for tonight's programme.

"And by starting to tell New Zealanders they'll be the only people in the world that are going to be under this visa system is absolutely disgusting," she says. 

Ms Lambie says: "All I'm asking for is to go back to how it used to be and let them have permanent residence here if they want it. It's as simple as that."

Australians get almost the same rights as Kiwis when they move to New Zealand, after a few years, including the right to vote.

But for many of the the 650,000 New Zealanders who call Australia home, there is no safety net.

Ms Lambie says she will bring it up with the appropriate minister when the time is right - when the government needs her support.

In tonight's report, TVNZ's Australia correspondent Ryan Boswell has more on the senator's desire to heal the Anzac relationship on this thorny issue, and backgrounds her own rocky political career.

* Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.