5 Jul 2011

Pacific population pressures prompt immigration policy review calls

3:17 pm on 5 July 2011

An Auckland based academic is calling for New Zealand to better prepare for migrants from small island states in the Pacific, seeking work and better opportunities.

The pro-vice chancellor research of AUT university, Professor Richard Bedford, says the Pacific island population has grown to 10 million, and is still growing.

He says many small island states have no means of accommodating growing populations while dealing with climate change, sea level rise, water problems and land disputes.

Mr Bedford says New Zealand already has close ties with the region and migrant schemes, like the Pacific Access Category and Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme.

But says changes will need to be made.

"This is an issue which has been going on for a long time. And I just think that New Zealand and Australia need to be showing in their immigration policies the sort of sensitivity that we are going to need to see to adjust to issues in the Pacific."

Professor Richard Bedford