The following AAP article, dated November 12, 2009, gives background information:
Australia should shut the door to thousands of New Zealanders to help stabilise the nation's population at 26 million by 2050, federal Labor backbencher Kelvin Thomson says.
Migration from New Zealand is uncapped and the number of Kiwis permanently settling has jumped from 16,400 in 2002-03 to 47,800 last financial year.
Mr Thomson says if Australia is to avoid an "environmental disaster", net overseas migration needs to be slashed from 213,500 to 70,000 a year.
In particular, the trans-Tasman travel arrangement with New Zealand would need to be renegotiated to do away with "the open door", he said in a speech to a community group in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Instead, New Zealanders should be offered places made available when people leave Australia to live elsewhere.
Mr Thomson says population growth in Australia is now a "runaway train".
Official projections show the country having 35 million people by 2050, which is unsustainable, he said.
Stabilising the population at 26 million would address "the declining quality of life in our cities, the traffic congestion and the disappearing backyards and open spaces".
Mr Thomson also wants to cut the skilled migration and family reunion programs, allowing Australia to boost its refugee intake from 13,750 to 20,000 a year.
The baby bonus should be abolished and family benefit payments restricted to just two children per family, he said.
The savings made would allow Australia to invest more in skills and training domestically, and increase foreign aid "to enable us to be compassionate, decent international citizens".
Mr Thomson has delivered several speeches in recent months rejecting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's assertion that population growth is good for Australia and the economic prosperity of the nation.
He has called for the rolling back of laws that allow international students to apply from Australia for a skilled permanent residence visa within six months of completing their course.
More controversially, in August he said the country's migration intake should be slashed so authorities could run more rigorous security checks on applicants.