NZ Samoa citizenship bill: Committee receives 24,000 plus public submissions

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Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono
Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono speaks during the First Reading of his Member's Bill, the Restoring Citizenship Removed By Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 Bill in April. Image: Johnny Blades/RNZ

Public submissions have closed on a bill which would offer a pathway to New Zealand citizenship to a group of Samoans born between 1924 and 1949.

Public hearings on the Restoring Citizenship Removed By Citizenship Act Bill start on Monday.

In 1982, the Privy Council ruled that because those born in Western Samoa were treated by New Zealand law as “natural-born British subjects”, they were entitled to New Zealand citizenship when it was first created in 1948 — but the government at the time overturned this ruling.

Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono’s bill aims to restore the right of citzenship to those impacted.

Last month, Tuiono said the “community want to have the issue resolved”.

Samoan Christian Fellowship secretary Reverend Aneterea Sa’u said the bill is about “trust and fairness” and encouraged the Samoan community to reach out to their local MPs to back the bill as it moves through the process.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has said his party would support the bill all the way.

The Governance and Administration Committee received about 24,500 submissions on the bill.

Hearings will be held in-person and on Zoom in Wellington on June 24 and 26, and on July 9, and there will also be hearings held in South Auckland on July 1.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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