Indian origin MP urges New Zealand to distance itself from Oz over students safety

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Wellington, Jan 11 (ANI): An Indian origin New Zealand MP has asked his government to distance itself from Australia or risk losing students from India.

Last year, 8200 students from India came to study here, a 42 per cent increase from the previous year, and the country is New Zealand's third-largest student market, worth 2.1 billion dollars, behind South Korea and China.

National Party list MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi's warning comes after an attack in Melbourne at the weekend, the second in just a week and the latest in the string of attacks against people of Indian descent in Australia.

"The trouble is, many Indians see New Zealand and Australia as one and the same," NZ Herald quoted Bakshi, as saying.

The MP said he would approach the Ministry of Education and Immigration New Zealand to discuss using an educational marketing programme to make India aware New Zealand is not like Australia.

"New Zealand is different, safe and we welcome everybody - that is the message we have to get across to India," said Bakshi.

According to Education Minister Anne Tolley, export education also supports more than 32,000 jobs, and international students pay 600 million dollars annually in fees.

Last week, India issued a state advisory warning its citizens studying in Australia to take "basic" precautions against possible attacks after a 21-year-old accounting graduate, Nitin Garg, was stabbed to death in Melbourne on January 2.

On Saturday, a 29-year-old man was rushed to hospital after being set on fire in the Victorian capital, leaving him with 15 per cent burns. (ANI)

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