‘We’re scared’: Kiwi sisters step up where PM won’t

 

SISTERS Marama and Awhi Gray have refused to sit back and watch while Kiwis trapped on the Gold Coast suffer - and they've taken matters into their own hands.

Gold Coast Kiwis who lost their job or are at risk of losing it may be eligible for the Morrison Government's unprecedented new Jobkeeper subsidy - yet unemployed New Zealanders remain ineligible for welfare.

Meanwhile, jobless Australians in New Zealand have been granted full access to the country's welfare system.

Yesterday Mr Morrison revealed a $1500 a fortnight Jobkeeper payment for employers to keep employees "on the books".

"New Zealanders under 444s visa don't get access to the welfare system but they are getting access to this job seeker payment," he said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison in Sydney last month. Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison in Sydney last month. Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Mr Morrison said they were part of "an ongoing economy in Australia and so we're about keeping them a part of this economy because they are part of what happens on the other side".

"The Prime Minister (Jacinda Ardern) herself has told me for those disconnected, if you like, from the Australia economy they know the rules when it comes to the welfare system in the economy and many of them are finding their way back to NZ," he said.

Bitter at the lack of support offered to all Kiwis on the Gold Coast, sisters Awhi Gray and Marama Gray are taking matters into their own hands.

They represent a Kiwi group supplying people with basic needs such as "kai (food) and making sure they still have a roof over their heads," Mrs Gray said.

Sisters Marama Gray and Awhi Gray, are part of a small group of Kiwis on the Gold Coast who are working behind the scenes to raise money, get food to Kiwis who aren't entitled to any centrelink benefits. Picture: Jerad Williams
Sisters Marama Gray and Awhi Gray, are part of a small group of Kiwis on the Gold Coast who are working behind the scenes to raise money, get food to Kiwis who aren't entitled to any centrelink benefits. Picture: Jerad Williams

"Heaps of Kiwis are really scared because they've got children to feed as well so we're working together to unite the community and rallying together," she said.

"Obviously our big picture is to achieve equality overall across the board for everyone in Australia, but the funds we are seeking to raise, initially we want to support our local communities here on the Gold Coast. We also want to enable and encourage other Kiwis in other states around Australia to set up and do the very same thing.

Sisters Marama Gray and Awhi Gray, are part of a small group of kiwis on the Gold Coast who are working behind the d the scenes to raise money, get food to Kiwis who aren't entitled to any centrelink benefits. Picture: Jerad Williams
Sisters Marama Gray and Awhi Gray, are part of a small group of kiwis on the Gold Coast who are working behind the d the scenes to raise money, get food to Kiwis who aren't entitled to any centrelink benefits. Picture: Jerad Williams

"It's not about separating Kiwis from Aussies, it's about making the government realise there's 600,000 of us here who pay taxes and work like everyone else here."

The sisters, who dropped food boxes off to struggling locals last week, said they were intent on bringing charities together and making at-risk Kiwis know about support service they could access.

"We know some are feeling too embarrassed but we should never feel that we can't ask for help. At this time it's also about coming together and saying we got this whanau. Love brings us all together. Arohanui."

Originally published as 'We're scared': Kiwi sisters step up where PM won't



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