4 Jun 2002

New Zealand asked to ease access for Samoans

11:21 am on 4 June 2002

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, who is also in Apia, says her plans to acknowledge the wrongs of the New Zealand colonial administration in Samoa later today, will allow a healing process to be completed.

But she has rejected a call by an opposition MP, Anae Arthur Anae, to free up access for Samoans wishing to go to New Zealand.

Anae made the call while criticising the 1982 New Zealand decision to go against a Privy Council ruling which upheld New Zealand citizenship rights for Samoans.

But Miss Clark says the current restrictions are also in Samoa's interest.

"Samoa also likes to retain it's population. New Zealand helps ease some pressure with the annual quota of eleven hundred. What we know of Niue it that it is a very depopulated Island, we also know with the Cook Islands there's been enormous depopulation. Samoa presently has a very viable population and that's what gives it its strengths as a leading regional South Pacific country."

Helen Clark