7 Feb 2014

Vanuatu minister says new dual citizenship law creates distinct categories

5:46 am on 7 February 2014

The Vanuatu lands minister has defended the move to change the constitution to allow Vanuatu citizenship to be sold.

Ralph Regenvanu says the new category of citizenship to be sold to foreigners will not allow successful applicants to own land, vote or run for public office, and says unlike ni-Vanuatu and naturalised citizens, their rights can be altered through legislation.

Opposition MPs and former MPs have criticised the constitutional amendments made last November.

The first opposition leader after independence in 1980, Vincent Boulekone, says it goes against the beliefs of the founders of Vanuatu.

But Mr Regenvanu says there are clearly two different categories.

"I am confident that the changes that were made were made in such a way that we have preserved the original rights of citizens as were enjoyed under the original constitution."

The Vanuatu lands minister, Ralph Regenvanu.