“Migration with Dignity”: Towards a New Zealand Response to Climate Change Displacement in the Pacific
The impacts of climate change threaten to cause the displacement of millions of people worldwide by the middle of this century. In spite of this looming crisis, international law provides insufficient protection to those who will be forced to migrate. In most cases, those who are displaced will fall outside of current protection frameworks. This paper examines why this protection deficit should be of particular concern to New Zealand, and it argues that there are significant incentives for New Zealand to develop a response to the issue of climate change displacement in the Pacific. The paper concludes that in order to ensure Pacific peoples are able to migrate with dignity, pre-emptive, voluntary migration schemes should be put in place to facilitate migration flows. These should build upon the current immigration framework, and include the extension of current permanent and temporary migration schemes, as well as the introduction of labour-training migration schemes.