26 Jan 2011

New Zealanders eligible for flood payments

7:33 pm on 26 January 2011

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says New Zealanders caught up in the floods in Australia will now be eligible for relief assistance.

A Disaster Relief Payment of $A1000 is available from Australia's social agency Centrelink.

However, the agency said only New Zealanders who arrived before February 2001, and are considered residents, were eligible.

But Mr McCully says New Zealanders not eligible for that payment will now get matching ex-gratia payments from the Australian government.

He says the decision is an excellent outcome and is grateful for the positive way in which the Australian government has dealt with the issue.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Government is donating $4 million to help people in Australia.

Mr McCully says Australians are New Zealand's closest friends and neighbours and there is a history of reciprocal support during natural disasters.

Some $3 million will go to the Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Fund, while $1 million will be given to the Red Cross Victorian Floods Appeal 2011.