So NZ Prime Minister John Key is upset about the way Australia treats Kiwi immigrants. He can’t be serious. New Zealanders who make the quick jump across the ditch are treated better than immigrants from any other nation.
Kiwis should not be entitled to permanent residency the moment they set up shop on Bondi Beach. I say that as someone who came here from New Zealand as a child, back when permanent residency was essentially automatic, and benefitted from the easier system.
Australia loves New Zealanders, but there’s only so much special treatment they can expect to receive. Kiwi immigrants have absolutely nothing to complain about.
Every time NZ Prime Minister John Key’s phone rings, he must fear the worst. Every time your average Kiwi switches on the news, they must dread what they’re about to hear.
Our tiny neighbour across the Tasman experienced disaster after disaster in 2011.
Unfortunately, the first week of 2012 brought events that jogged painful memories of the events of the previous year - and another tragedy of its own.
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On September 4 last year, Christchurch was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake which caused widespread damage but no fatalities. The quake that shook the city in February this year was of a lesser magnitude, at 6.3, but it had far more dire consequences.
The quake struck early afternoon local time. It was morning here in Australia and The Punch team remembers watching the scenes of horror unfold on the multiple TV monitors in our office. The quake exacerbated much of the damage done by the previous one. In total, 181 were killed.
You could tell things were bad when you saw the severe damage to Christchurch’s signature building, the 19th century cathedral in the main city square. But the real devastation happened both in the suburbs and at other buildings in the city – in particular the Canterbury Television Building, where over half the deaths occurred.
So let’s get this straight. New Zealand teams can perform a ritualised tribal war dance before sporting contests, complete with throat-slitting gesture. But if the opposition has the temerity to encroach upon them, that’s unacceptable.
Worse than unacceptable. It’s a protocol breach apparently deserving of a $15,000 fine, which is the amount rugby’s governing body the IRB plans on slugging the French.
Prior to Sunday’s Rugby World Cup final, the All Blacks assumed their usual formation for their customary bout of tongue-wagging, eyeball popping and general silliness, culminating in the delightfully family-friendly act of throat-slitting.
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Was a week that started with endless huffing and puffing over the carbon tax ever going to end in anything other than a black out?
The Wallabies didn’t lose their Rugby World Cup semi final against New Zealand last night because Quade Cooper kicked the very first ball of the match over the sideline, and was largely ineffectual thereafter. Though as omens go, that first kick was a doozy.
Neither, as some are suggesting, did they lose because of biased refereeing, or because the result was somehow influenced by telecast sponsor Tom Waterhouse - the son of a bookmaker implicated in Australia’s greatest racing scandal.
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Australians will have more to worry about than the jubilant crowing of four million kiwis if Quade Cooper et al fail to pull their finger out tomorrow night.
For the earth will move not just in Christchurch but throughout the land of the long white cloud if the All Blacks can overcome their choking form and progress to the final. Not for the country cousins a bit of scarf waving and a few Steinies to celebrate: Nope, the entire nation has promised they will literally root for the boys should victory come to pass.
Never mind Costello’s one for mum, one for dad and one for the country, the Kiwis are poised to deliver one for the All Blacks, with 96 per cent of the country saying they plan on having sex if New Zealand wins the Rugby World Cup.
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The toxic oil spill in the Bay of Plenty will leave tonnes of dirty, sticky fuel on New Zealand beaches.
The clean up will continue today, even as “fist-sized patties about 5mm high” continue to wash up, with the weather hampering efforts to battle the spill from the crashed cargo ship Rena. It’s a looming environmental disaster.
Authorities can’t use booms to stop the spread because of the ocean conditions, and are hoping dispersants will reduce the damage. There is also some speculation marine microbes could help.
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Prepare for a week of verbal warfare. Here on the civilised side of the ditch, expect perfectly hilarious sheep jokes, gibes about silly accents and clever references to the dole queue at the Bondi Junction branch of Centrelink.
Over in the land of the long white ugg boot, expect endless tedious quips about Quade Cooper, Quade Cooper and Quade Cooper. With a few Quade Cooper jokes thrown in for good measure.
Cooper is the Wallabies fly half who grew up in New Zealand but left when he was a schoolboy because his mother wanted him to play for a team that didn’t choke every World Cup. The Kiwi version of the story is that he left in order to raise the IQ of both countries.
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An NRL superstar is a hero to the town of Whakatane, on the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. His name is Benji Marshall.
Marshall grew up there. Part of his family still lives there. He went to the local school until he was offered a scholarship to play for a rugby league team on the Gold Coast when he was 16.
“He’s a legend mate,” says the events manager for the Whakatane district council, Mike Van Der Boom. Marshall and his team didn’t make it through to this evening’s Grand Final. But with the New Zealand Warriors through to only their second rugby league grand final ever and the country hosting a Rugby World Cup where the All Blacks are strong contenders for the title, football fever is in the air in Whakatane.
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Yesterday I was reminded of one of the most amazing and moving moments I have ever experienced. It was in 2006 and I was listening to the national anthems being sung at the Lone Pine memorial service on Anzac day. Surprisingly, what moved me was not the roar of over 10,000 Australians singing our own national anthem, but hearing the thousands of Kiwi pilgrims belting out theirs.
I wasn’t moved at the thought of God defending our mates over the ditch (as the anthem goes), rather it was the first ever time I had heard New Zealanders sing the first Maori verse of their anthem, and it was sung with such gusto and pride.
I was astonished not only that they had been taught the Maori words, but that they were proud enough to sing it so loudly and passionately. I was jealous of their historic and cultural pride that day.
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A delegation of Australian MPs has been given permission to inspect the New Zealand apple industry - as long as they don’t go near any apple trees.
Instead, they have been invited to tour New Zealand dairy farms, according to the chairman of a parliamentary committee.
The restrictions are the latest flare-up in the battle over fire blight, an agricultural disease which could destroy entire orchards.
Margaret Cruickshank became New Zealand’s first female doctor today in 1897. Good on her.
It’s Tuesday at The Punch. What’s on your mind? Share it here.
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These past two days I’ve been gazing at my fellow office workers and wondering: If an earthquake struck here, who would be a hero? Who would run back into the crumbling building for a mate, who would risk their life for another?
I had imagined that, of the hundreds of people, a few would shine.
Maybe that chick over there that always looks calm and competent. Maybe not that bloke who can never manage eye contact.
I also wondered what I would do and had a terrifying thought that I would be a panicker, a useless screamer (or swearer, more likely) who only contributed to the chaos.
But, as it turns out, more people are everyday heroes than I thought.
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This is a worthwhile little fund raising video for victims of the Christchurch earthquake from the same guys who brought us the imbeachedaz whale.
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This summer of Australian natural disasters has been book-ended by two New Zealand disasters, both of which claimed more lives than all of the Australian weather-related calamities put together.
In late November, the Pike River mine blast claimed 29 victims. Various Australian weather events – most notably the SE Queensland floods – then claimed around 25 lives, while the death toll continues to rise rapidly from yesterday’s devastating Christchurch earthquake. At last count it was 65 and early morning reports suggest this could reach as high as 200.
There are no lessons in all of this, except one. New Zealand’s pain is our pain. And ours is theirs.
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Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island, has been struck by a second major earthquake in six months. Full coverage with live updates and streaming video is available here
At this stage, damage appears far worse – and there are certainly more casualties, including fatalities – than the 7.1 magnitude September 2010 quake, even though this one was “only” magnitude 6.3.
Phone lines to Christchurch are currently working, but extremely congested. Emergency services are asking that people only ring the area for emergency purposes, so you’ll excuse us for failing to get immediate on-the-ground comment.
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Antipodean Greens have established themselves as the rudest on the planet, with the New Zealanders easily winning the local derby.
Tomorrow Prime Minister Julia Gillard will address the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington in what her Kiwi counterpart, conservative John Key, had hoped would be a first.
However, NZ Greens co-leader Russel Norman and colleagues have made sure the Parliament won’t be in session when she arrives, making it just another speech and not a high-level honour.
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The devastating news out of New Zealand this afternoon, that a second, larger, explosion almost certainly means none of the 29 men still down the Pike River mine are alive, is accompanied by a huge amount of anger directed towards both the mine management and the police who have been in charge of the efforts since last Friday’s initial explosion.
In a gut wrenching interview on Sky News earlier, Laurie Drew, who’s 21-year-old son Zen has almost certainly perished in the mine, said the mine’s owners had missed the window of opportunity for a rescue. He didn’t mince words.
“The company’s got what they wanted, they had their opportunity on Friday night and now there’s no one left alive the truth can’t come out ... If we find … after that first blast people were alive there’s going to be problems,” he said.
“Those guys at the top should have been down here talking to us, not hiding behind bloody windows.”
Just when you thought the World Cup couldn’t get any more annoying, what about this - on day five of the tournament as things currently stand it’s New Zealand 1 and Australia nil.
And no amount of juvenile joking about their accents, their fondness for mooching around Bondi while on the dole or their affection for farm animals can alter that fact.
They were standing on top of their chilly-bins and clapping their jandals in the air late yesterday as the All Whites scored the first New Zealand goal ever in a World Cup.
Professor David Flint – the convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM) – is on the march again and as usual he’s on his way back to yesterday.
He’s worked himself into right royal frenzy over the fact that the government New Zealand has restored titles – “sir” and “dame” – to its honours list and seems peeved that Kevin Rudd won’t follow suit.
Flint would know titles were expunged from the Australian honours system in 1986 – with the approval of the Queen.
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A couple of weeks ago I had a night to kill in a foreign capital and took myself to see “This Is It”. The film starts with the dancers speaking about the amazing opportunity of performing on stage with Michael Jackson.
One began by announcing he was Australian. Out of country and a little homesick, my patriotic heart leapt. To my amazement, the rest of the audience greeted his declaration with warmth and cheers suggestive of collective ownership.
It reminded me how much Kiwis and Aussies love to own each others successes. Take Russell Crowe, Crowded House and Phar Lap - all dinky-di Australians.
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It’s a case of life imitating art or, more precisely, life almost imitating a cult Kiwi musical comedy duo’s US cable TV show.
In the second series of the relentlessly self-deprecating Flight of the Conchords, the New Zealand Prime Minister Brian visits America but is such a non-entity that the closest he comes to meeting Barack Obama is on a public tour of the White House and then later at a party with an Obama impersonator.
In a follow-up episode Brian opens the single dismal exhibit New Zealand Town in New York and insists on providing the commentary while driving the guided tour bus past it himself.
So we’re now almost a foot closer to New Zealand, which has prompted many jokes about Bondi being swamped and our Immigration Department having a lot of work taken off their hands.
I heard a Kiwi on the radio this morning hoping the airlines would drop their prices so he could go home and visit his family more often.
Apparently New Zealand’s been sneaking up on us, a few centimetres at a time, for years and last week made an almighty push during a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Initially I was alarmed at the news, but now am beginning to think things could be worse.
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