13 Dec 2005

No risk of statelessness over New Zealand citizenship changes

8:29 pm on 13 December 2005

The New Zealand government says changes to how citizenship is determined, will not leave babies stateless in Pacific states with which it retains strong links.

Babies born from next year in the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue to non-New Zealand parents will no longer automatically become New Zealand citizens.

But a spokesman for the Department of Internal Affairs, Tony Wallace, says those with no clear status will still have protections under the Citizenship Amendment Act.

"There is also a statelessness provision in the Act, which means no baby will be left stateless or not have the right to claim NZ citizenship, where citizenship in another country can't be established."

Tony Wallace says where the baby can claim more than one citizenship of a country there is also a 'most favoured status' provision.