Tuvalu family allowed to live in New Zealand

Wellington - A family from the remote Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu have been granted permission to remain in New Zealand on humanitarian grounds, after their bid to gain protected person status on the grounds of climate change failed, their lawyer said on Monday.

Lawyer Carole Curtis said Sigeo Alesana and his wife, who have two New Zealand-born children aged 5 and 3, were delighted with the ruling by the immigration and protection tribunal.

It may be one of the first successful immigration appeals to quote climate change as a factor, Radio New Zealand reported.

The children's "young age makes them inherently more vulnerable to natural disasters and the adverse impact of climate change", the tribunal said in its decision on Sunday.

"The appellants are well-loved and integral members of a family which has, effectively, migrated to New Zealand in its entirety, deportation would amount to an unusually significant disruption to a dense network of family relationships spanning three generations in New Zealand", the tribunal said.

The tribunal last year rejected a Kiribati family's bid for refugee status on the grounds of climate change.