Our Trans-Tasman bonds stay strong
AS a long-term expatriate Kiwi and former Christchurch resident, born and bred, I am extending my thanks and gratitude to all my fellow Australians for their compassionate and generous responses to the recent earthquake tragedy.
From the highest level of government to individual citizens, their heartfelt and swift expressions of sympathy and practical assistance was a true demonstration of the close bonds that both countries share.
During my 40-plus years in Australia and military service in both countries, I am well aware of the underlying tensions and resentments held in some quarters towards New Zealand with many Australians feel- ing that New Zealand does not pull its weight in our mutual defence and regional aid, as well the ever increasing influx of New Zealanders coming to Australia to help meet the demands for well educated, skilled workers and soundly credentialed professionals; their presence somehow seen as a burden on the Australian taxpayer.
Some New Zealanders, in turn, tend to suspect the political motives of many Australian initiatives that they feel may impinge upon their national sovereignty a nd disadvantaget hem trade-wise. Indeed, our PM saw fit to bury one issue on a recent visit to Wellington and formally declare the great ‘‘ Apple Wars’’ to be finally over.
Hopefully we have been forgiven for introducing ‘‘ wide combs’’ into the Australian shearing industry thus helping to bring it into the 20th century.
All such suspicions and resentments were put aside in Australia’s response to t he devastation visited upon Christchurch by the earthquake. Coming closely on the heels of the Brisbane floods, to which New Zealand also contributed significant assistance, Australians dug deep into their collective pockets and aid and assistance flowed.
To all those that put aside their normal daily employment and crossed the Tasman to contribute their professional skills and exper- tise, a special thank you and I trust that my hometown extended its hospitality and gratitude in return.
When the rebuilding and recovery of Brisbane, North Queensland and Christchurch is complete and it comes time for reflection, I would hope both governments will draw from the lessons learned and seek to find ways that will allow both countries t o grow together, trade as one economic unit, see the advantages of the free flow of each others citizens between both countries and accept what already is a defacto reality of one nation and two governments in the South Pacific. KEVIN BOVILL,
HELPING HANDS: The recent disasters in Australia and New Zealand reinforced our friendship