New Zealand's 'duty' to climate change refugees sees new visa mooted

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NZN

A new climate change category visa may be introduced in New Zealand in response to our pacific neighbours' displacement caused by climate change.

By 2050 it's estimated up to 54 per cent of the nation’s main island will be inundated with sea water.

Source: 1 NEWS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told CNN International today that climate change was one of New Zealand's biggest international problems and could mean an influx of climate change refugees.

"We need to acknowledge that we are, unless we make dramatic changes, at the front of seeing refugees as a result of climate change so we see a duty of care there," Ms Ardern says

"We're looking to ways to build in the responsibility we have on climate change and the way we approach climate change refugees in the future amongst our neighbours."

Climate change minister James Shaw told Radio New Zealand he was looking at a new category visa for people in the Pacific who were displaced by rising sea levels.

The New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal has already denied a number of climate change refugee claims including Kiribati overstayer Ioane Teitiota and his family, who were deported in 2015.

A Tuvalu family's application for refugee and protected person's status was turned down in 2013 as they did not meet the refugee convention which does not include climate change as a reason to seek asylum.

The family successfully appealed and the visa was granted in 2014 but only under exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature, rather than as victims of climate change.

Ms Ardern also spoke about rising tensions with North Korea and the US in her first international TV interview. 

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