New Zealand's deputy prime minister says it would be premature to extend New Zealand citizenship to environmental refugees fleeing the effects of climate change.
Winston Peters was responding to questions about the possibility of accepting climate refugees from at risk Pacific neighbours like Kiribati and Tuvalu.
Increasing extreme weather like storm surges and cyclones according to Mr Peters posed the biggest current risk in the Pacific.
He said sea-level rise was not a major immediate threat.
"What we have noticed is the level of damage in storms has been seriously adverse to certain island nations and our job is to get out there and see, whether by remediation and some serious improvements, if we can ensure the continuance of occupation and habitation in those islands," said Mr Peters.
He confirmed that a parliamentary delegation will be visiting Fiji, Kiribati and Tuvalu in coming months to assess how best New Zealand can help.
New Zealand aimed to amass and enhance collective international funding and get on top of the climate change problem facing the Pacific, Mr Peters said.