18 Feb 2019

Tuvalu dismisses citizenship for fisheries idea

3:38 pm on 18 February 2019

Tuvalu's leader Enele Sopoaga has lambasted a former Australian leader's suggestion to swap Australian citizenship for maritime resources.

Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga

Tuvalu's Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga Photo: RNZI / Jamie Tahana

Mr Sopoaga has described Kevin Rudd's proposals as "imperial thinking".

Mr Rudd wrote in a recent essay that Australia should offer citizenship to residents of the small Pacific nations of Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru in exchange for control of their seas, Exclusive Economic Zones, and fisheries.

Mr Sopoaga warned, in an interview with the ABC, it amounted to neo colonialism.

He said Tuvalu was a fully independent country and there was no way he was going to compromise its rights to fisheries resources.

He said what was needed was urgent action on climate change.

Mr Sopoaga has called for the establishment of a Pacific supra-state, along the lines of the European Union, that is "based on cooperation and integration, perhaps into some sort of United States of the Pacific".

Mr Sopoaga said this would be a more realistic way for small Pacific Island nations to amplify their concerns about climate change on the global stage.