21 May 2004

New Zealand says Samoans will accept rejection of citizenship petition

10:52 am on 21 May 2004

New Zealand's Associate Pacific Islands Affars Minister, Taito Phillip Field, says he thinks Samoans will accept a Parliamentary Select Committee decision to reject a petition seeking to repeal the 1982 Citizenship Act.

The Act stripped Samoans born between 1928 and 1948 of New Zealand citizenship.

Mr Field says he doesn't think the Muldoon government passed the law with any understanding of international law but because of paranoia of a Samoan invasion.

He says the Committee found the New Zealand Government was in a very difficult position if it was to consider overturning the Act.

"Because of its consistency with international law, and also in relation to the decolonisation convention of the United Nations in preparation for a nation to become independent - a significant number of its citizens should not be citizens of another country but also that Samoans never ceded their sovereignty to anyone, so if Samoans never ceded their sovereignty to anyone, who is New Zealand to impose their citizenship on people in that situation?"