A plan nobody hopes they will need
New Zealand and climate change migration
At the Second Pacific Climate Change conference in Wellington in February 2018, New Zealand’s Minister for Pacific Peoples, ‘Aupito Tofae Su’a William Sio, said New Zealand must have policies in place to deal with the possibility of climate induced migration from the Pacific Islands. He described having such a policy in place as being akin to a factory preparing an evacuation plan in case of an earthquake: A vital precaution for something everybody hoped would never be needed. But what would that policy look like, how far forward would planners have to think, what issues are involved and who would be responsible for making sure it was effective? This article examines four key areas of concern that will have to be dealt with if an effective policy on climate change-induced migration is to be developed: Public perceptions, the law, maintaining Island culture and identity and changing the existing media narrative on social change. It identifies three groups of key players in the process: Legislators and legal experts, churches and journalists.
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