19 Feb 2015

Samoa Citizenship bill stirs debate

7:24 am on 19 February 2015

A Samoa opposition MP, Lefau Harry Schuster, is critical of allowing foreign investors to get Samoan citizenship under the governments proposed foreign investor citizenship bill.

The former judge and lawyer says he is jealous people without blood connection to Samoa can become citizens once they meet the requirements of the law, and invest millions of dollars.

Lefau has reminded the government of the days of the German colonial administration when Samoans opposed giving away their identity to foreigners.

But the MP says he accepts the government's intention to improve the economy.

The deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, has dismissed claims the legislation will create problems and uncertainty.

Samoa deputy PM Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo

Samoa deputy PM Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo Photo: RNZI Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

But a government MP, Gatoloaifa'ana Amataga Gidlow, says she does not support the bill, pointing to neighbouring American Samoa and its problems with foreign business operators.

Another government MP and former minister of finance, Papalii Niko Lee Hang, has reminded the house of the Bible which refers to money as the evil of all things.