14 May 2015

Concern for NZers on Norfolk Island

6:13 am on 14 May 2015

The abolition of Norfolk Island's parliament will jeopardise the social security rights of New Zealanders living there, a human rights advocate says.

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is home to about 1400 permanent residents. Photo: AFP

The Australian Government has voted to install a local council that will strip Norfolk Island of its long-time autonomy, including abolishing its legislative assembly.

About a quarter of the island's 1400 permanent residents are New Zealand citizens.

Sydney-based lawyer David Faulkner said they would lose some of their rights if Norfolk came under Australian law.

"Access to unemployment benefits, sickness - if they have a disability, they won't be entitled to disability support even though they'll be required to pay the disability levy," he said.

"At the moment, we have no idea if they'll be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship."

Mr Faulkner said that could breach Australia's Racial Discrimination Act.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs