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Key to advocate Kiwis' rights during trans-Tasman talks

Published: 6:36AM Friday February 08, 2013 Source: ONE News

Prime Minister John Key is expected to advocate on behalf of the nearly 500,000 Kiwis living in Australia when he meets with Julia Gillard over the weekend.

The Australian Prime Minister has touched down in Queenstown for the annual Prime Ministers' talks.

High on the agenda will be the discrepancies between the entitlements Kiwis are granted in Australia compared with Australians living in New Zealand.

Deputy political editor Jessica Mutch said visa discrepancies are becoming an on-going issue between the two countries.

"John Key is not making any promises. He has said we may not be getting results this meeting and if we do, just what shape that will take, he's not sure."

New Zealanders are not entitled to the same Government benefits as Australians, such as the unemployment and sickness benefit, even after they have lived in Australia for two years.

Australians living in New Zealand are automatically given the same rights as residents after two years.

Key and Gillard are also expected to discuss cyber security and strengthening economic relations.

The visit marks 30 years since the signing of a free trade agreement between the two countries.

"Closer economic relations have helped make Australia and New Zealand two of the most integrated economies anywhere," said Key.

"I also look forward to discussing the recommendations of our joint productivity commissions' report into strengthening economic relations between Australia and New Zealand."

The prime ministers will also discuss relations in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world, as Australia looks towards assuming presidency of the G20 and landing a seat on the UN Security Council.

"I look forward to this annual meeting with Ms Gillard. It provides the opportunity to build on our shared ties and discuss areas where we can engage in a constructive manner."

Gillard will spend the weekend in Queenstown.