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Kiwis will keep studying in Oz: Bishop

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/05/2017 Dominica Sanda

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New Zealand's foreign minister says spats between Canberra and Wellington over student fees and citizenship entitlements haven't harmed the "superb" relationship between the two countries.

Gerry Brownlee met his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in Sydney on Thursday with the pair discussing proposed hikes to Australian university fees and the Turnbull government's push to make it harder for permanent residents to become citizens.

Kiwis are particularly angry students attending Australian unis could soon pay full fees for the first time under the Turnbull government's proposal to slash A$2.8 billion from the higher education sector in Tuesday's budget.

But Mr Brownlee says the relationship between NZ Prime Minister Bill English and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull remains "superb".

"His relationship with Mr Turnbull is superb and I don't think we can say that the travel arrangements are a problem," the New Zealand foreign minister told reporters on Thursday.

Mr Brownlee said the recent issues could be "worked out or discussed in the future".

"We've agreed today that officials from both countries will consider both of the country's domestic policies in relation to how it might affect our citizens living in those countries," he said.

"The warmth of our discussions today reaffirms the friendship between our countries."

Ms Bishop assured New Zealanders they would have "greater opportunities" to access the Australian higher education system but they needed to be aware "it's not a free service".

"These are changes that have been made in the context of the Australian budget to ensure that our higher education sector remains high quality and sustainable," she told reporters.

"New Zealanders across the board will have greater access to what is a very generous higher education loans program.

"(And) my expectation is more New Zealanders will be seeking to gain a degree from an Australian university."

Mr Brownlee reiterated Australia's crackdown on citizenship would not impact Kiwis.

Australia's foreign minister backed that view noting "the pathway to citizen arrangement stands" for New Zealanders.

In Auckland, Prime Minister Bill English told reporters he was sure the meeting had been convivial.

"They have agreed to consult in the future," he told reporters.

"We have different issues - the Australian government has got deficits, we've got surpluses."

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