10 May 2004

Tuvalu deplores lack of communication from NZ about migration scheme

3:42 pm on 10 May 2004

The Tuvalu Prime Minister, Saufatu Sopo'aga, says New Zealand's Immigration Department has not communicated with him over a scheme which he says the country is not honouring.

Mr Sopo'aga says New Zealand agreed three years ago to take in 75 Tuvaluans a year under the Pacific Access Scheme.

However Mr Sopo'aga says New Zealand has not met its end of the deal with only 32 Tuvaluans being accepted in the last two years.

"Immigration New Zealand is not telling us what is happening and the progress on it. It looks like it is a scheme of their own. They've also changed conditions of the scheme before the review is due."

A review of the scheme is scheduled for July.

Saufatu Sopo'aga says he's passed his concerns on to New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark who has said she will look into the matter.