4 Nov 2014

Report backs free UK travel for Kiwis

8:48 am on 4 November 2014

The director of a think-tank suggesting unrestricted immigration between Britain and New Zealand and Australia believes the proposal will get British government backing.

auckland airport arrivals

Photo: PHOTO NZ

The Commonwealth Exchange plan is based on an idea by London's mayor, Boris Johnson, who was outraged last year when an Australian teacher was kicked out of Britain while European Union citizens have unrestricted access.

The report argues so-called "Boris bilaterals" should be modelled on the trans-Tasman travel arrangement between Australia and New Zealand.

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Photo: AFP

Since 1973, that arrangement has allowed New Zealand and Australian citizens to enter each other's countries to visit, live and work without the need to apply for a visa before travelling.

Think-tank director and report author Tim Hewish told Morning Report such a move would not be as controversial as immigration sometimes is in Britain.

"We share the same head of state, we have a common law legal system, we 've got a lot in common, and to think this is alien or unwanted immigration would be somewhat misplaced."

Because the arrangement would be reciprocal the number of people travelling each way should even out, he said.

Mr Hewish argued there was little chance of change before Britain's May 2015 general election but that bilaterals could be up and running within six months after that.