If you’d thought the previously frosty relationship between Australia and New Zealand had thawed when new PM Anthony Albanese took the top job, today it well and truly started to melt.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was certainly saving the best till last on her four-day trip around Australia this week.
She had been tempering expectations all week about her formal meeting with Australia’s Prime Minister, especially considering the two had only just sat down last month.
However, today marks a significant 180 from the Australian government, and a significant win for the Prime Minister.
Albanese committed to having a plan in place by ANZAC Day next year, to ease the pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders in Australia.
This was one of Jacinda Ardern’s big goals heading into today’s meeting.
She’d also been wanting some changes which would see less New Zealanders deported back to Aotearoa, despite living most of their lives in Australia.
The 501 policy isn’t going anywhere, but Albanese today said Australia would have a “common sense” approach to situations where a person had “no connection whatsoever to New Zealand”.
Anthony Albanese has also signalled he’s interested in widening voting eligibility to Kiwis who’ve lived in Australia for a year.
You must remember that this policy has been a point of contention for a long period, with past Prime Ministers like Sir John Key airing their concerns, with very little change.
For the first time in years, it feels like things are starting to move in the right direction.