I see that some Australian TV show host said that New Zealand has the “dole bludger army” for support in the cricket. Now something about intimate relationships with sheep or cows, or something about little country syndrome, or something about Lord of the Rings, would have been fine – banter is acceptable. But his statement doesn’t make any sense, and feeds into a stereotype of New Zealanders in Australia that leads to real discrimination.
So why doesn’t the stereotype hold up? Well for one, Kiwis can’t get the unemployment benefit in Australia – they could pre-2000 but then things changed. Just check it here. It is common to see Australian media (and people I run into) complaining both that Kiwi’s are “stealing their jobs” and “stealing their benefits”. In truth Kiwis are heading over there, without a security net, to work hard to make something of themselves in a larger country – they can’t get the benefits, and the idea of a zero sum set of jobs is just straight incorrect.
Secondly, within both countries there are proportionately fewer people on the dole in New Zealand than in Australia. New Zealand produces these numbers directly, but I couldn’t find matching Aussie data. As a result, we can just look at the unemployment rates (given they use matching definitions of what constitutes unemployment):
Sure unemployment went a bit higher recently, due to the deeper recession in NZ – but on average a lower proportion of NZers are unemployed than Aussies are.
And this has occurred with much higher employment rates (% of people over 15 in work) in NZ than in Aussie.
So, out of the population, a larger proportion of NZers are actually working relative to those in Aussie.
So not only was it a stupid, racist, and bigoted call – the data doesn’t even support the TV hosts prejudices.
Note: The term dole bludger is insulting and degrading in the first place – irrespective of the relative unemployment rate. Even if NZers could get benefits, and the UR was higher in NZ, this type of attitude towards benefits is pretty dirty.