National’s inaction will leave Pacific peoples homeless

John Key needs to show leadership and commit to resettling people from Pacific nations that are at serious risk of being displaced by climate change, the Green Party said today.

John Key needs to show leadership and commit to resettling people from Pacific nations that are at serious risk of being displaced by climate change, the Green Party said today.

 

The Prime Minister is currently attending the Pacific Island Forum, where climate change is at the top of the meeting’s agenda. More than 200,000 people living on low-lying Pacific atolls risk losing their homes to rising seas.

 

“Countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu face an existential threat from climate change, but John Key has ruled out doing anything until a ‘real issue’ presents itself,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

 

“We should give people an opportunity to relocate with dignity, rather than waiting for climate disasters to force people from their homes.

 

“Resettlement in other countries may be the measure of last resort, but it doesn’t have to be rushed.

 

“The Government should prioritise creating a pathway to New Zealand residency for Pacific peoples who are at serious risk of being displaced in coming decades.

 

“This could include increasing the number of work visas offered to people from countries like Tuvalu and Kiribati, or expanding the current Pacific Access Category so some places are allocated to people who are at high risk of being displaced by climate change.

 

“John Key has an opportunity now to show leadership and lay the groundwork for a regional response to this issue, which has the best chance of being workable in the short term.

 

“He should listen to Pacific voices saying that we need to plan for the reality of climate change,” said Mr Shaw.

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