25 Sep 2015

Call for NZ to up residency quota for Pacific climate victims

1:18 pm on 25 September 2015
no caption 2015. Taken by VSA volunteer

People of Kiribati say their islands are increasingly threatened by sea-level rise Photo: Shifani Sood

New Zealand's Human Rights Commission says New Zealand has a moral responsibility to increase the quota of Kiribati people granted residency each year.

75 Kiribati citizens are granted New Zealand residency every year under the Pacific Access Category.

Earlier this week an i-Kiribati man, Ioane Teitiota, was deported from New Zealand after he lost an appeal to be declared a climate change refugee.

The Race Relations Commissioner, Dame Susan Devoy, says more I-Kiribati, Tuvaluans and other environmentally threatened Pacific Islanders should be given residency.

"Well I don't know the specific details around numbers but what I do think we can do is to start planning to help our Pacific neighbours. I think that is the really important and right thing to do."

Dame Susan says increasing the quota is a way for New Zealand to show leadership, empathy and humanity as a developed Pacific nation.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs