Racism behind Australia’s attitude towards Kiwis, says former immigration minister

Former immigration minister Aussie Malcolm says racism is behind Australia’s attitude to this country, and New Zealand should treat Australians the same way as Australia treats Kiwis.

Minister from 1981-1984, Malcolm told Radio NZ on Wednesday that Australian ministers would tell him “on the down low” that New Zealanders were different because they included Maori and Pacific Islanders.

“Australians say look at these people coming into Australia. They’re not New Zealanders. They got in by the backdoor, but you and I would look at them and say they are New Zealanders, mate.

“Just because they’ve got a Tongan name, or a Samoan name, or brown skin, doesn’t make them not New Zealanders. But you see, the Australian mindset says they can’t be New Zealanders because they’re different,” Malcolm, who runs an immigration consultancy, said.

Thousands of Australians were sending their children to New Zealand schools for free, and others were in New Zealand prisons, or taking jobs in this country, he said.

New Zealand should treat Australians the same way Kiwis were being treated in Australia.