14 Oct 2003

Tuvalu seeks MOU with Niue over possible migration

6:15 am on 14 October 2003

The Government of Tuvalu says it has asked Niue to produce a memorandum of understanding detailing what rights Tuvaluans would enjoy if they settled on Niue.

The Premier of Niue, Young Vivian, asked Tuvalu's Prime Minister, Saufatu Sopoanga last week during the country's independence celebrations whether Tuvaluans would like to move to Niue.

Mr Sopoanga says they will put the suggestion to the people, but it is up to them to decide.

He says first they would like Niue to draw up an MOU.

"they should indicate what obligations would the Niue government be prepared to accept these people from Tuvalu on coming to Niue. Whether these Tuvaluans would have access to land, housing, to education, to health facilities on the island of Niue'"

Saufatu Sopoanga, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu.

Tuvalu has in recent years called on both New Zealand and Australia to accept more immigration amid fears of the impact of sea level rise, while Niue has lost so much of its population to New Zealand its viability is in doubt.

Mr Vivian says his advice to Mr Sopoanga is that an MOU is not necessary yet.

maybe later we could have an MOU because I think it's preferable to have flexibility at this early stage