New Zealand’s new government is considering creating “an experimental humanitarian visa category” for people in Pacific islands who are under pressure to relocate due to rising sea levels induced by climate change.
The new category would make official the Green party’s pre-election policy which promised 100 visas for those affected by climate change. As part of the new Labour-led coalition government, the Green party leader James Shaw was given the role of climate change minister.
Shaw’s announcement comes after the New Zealand immigration and protection tribunal rejected two families from Tuvalu who applied to become refugees in New Zealand due to the impact of climate change. The families argued rising sea levels, lack of access to clean and sanitary drinking water and Tuvalu’s high unemployment rate as reasons for seeking asylum.