New Zealanders debate over becoming a state of Australia

14:54, March 14, 2010      

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A latest opinion poll has found 40 percent of New Zealanders support a debate about becoming a state of Australia.

The UMR Research poll, released on Sunday, surveyed 1,000 people on both sides of the Tasman.

Approximately a quarter of New Zealanders favored the country becoming part of Australia with 71 percent opposed to the idea.

Thirty-seven percent of Australian respondents supported the merger, compared 52 percent against it.

Former Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon, who is also a former New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister and chair of the Trans-Tasman Business Circle - told TVNZ that it was just a matter of time before a formal agreement is reached with Australia.

He said nearly half a million New Zealanders now living in Australia.

He said by the time the next generation comes around, technology and the movement of people everywhere, New Zealanders will not want to be in the situation of paying taxes in both countries and all the time going through immigration and Customs.

He believed the shift will be people-driven, rather than politically motivated.

But New Zealand Labor party leader Phil Goff said there was no reason for a union with Australia.

He said although Australia had nothing to lose from it, joining with a much larger country would mean giving up New Zealand's national identity.

He said working toward a single economic market between the countries could be achieved without a merger.

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