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Some were Australians seeking better job prospects and a lower cost of living, while others were New Zealanders moving home.
Long viewed as Australia’s poor relation, with lower wages, less sunshine and a duller cultural life, New Zealand is booming.
Particularly painful has been a slump in the price of iron ore, Australia’s most lucrative export.
Much to the mirth of New Zealanders, their larger neighbour has also been plagued by political instability, with former Labor prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard serially stabbing each other in the back and the conservative incumbent, Tony Abbott, narrowly avoiding being ditched by his own party.
Some say the Kiwis began to fall out of love with Australia when former prime minister John Howard abolished their long-standing right to housing, health and unemployment benefits.
Fairly or unfairly, the perception for many in Australia was that New Zealanders had availed themselves liberally of such benefits – so liberally that those arriving in Sydney were known as “Bondi bludgers [scroungers]”.