Pacific Media Watch

22 September 2015

KIRIBATI: 'Climate change refugee' makes last bid to stay in NZ

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Ioane Teitiota and his wife Erika ... fighting bureaucracy all the way. Image: O'Brien/DW

AUCKLAND (TV3 News/Pacific Media Watch): A Kiribati man fighting to stay in New Zealand will take his case to Parliament.

Ioane Teitiota went all the way to the Supreme Court in his unsuccessful bid to become the world's first climate change refugee.

He has for years argued his family's health was at risk if they returned to low-lying Kiribati, which suffers from rising sea levels and water supplies that are contaminated by salt and sewage.

With all avenues of appeal exhausted, he is due to be deported tomorrow.

But today a petition will be presented to Parliament calling for Prime Minister John Key to intervene and allow Teitiota and his family to stay in New Zealand.

Members of the Kiribati and Tuvalu communities will be there for the handover of the petition.

Teitiota overstayed his New Zealand visa and was fighting to stay in the country with his wife Erika and three New Zealand-born children, who say they will be forced to move back to Kiribati if he is deported.

In 2013 the High Court ruled against Teitiota's bid to appeal against the government's rejection of his 2009 application for refugee status.

The Supreme Court in July ruled against Teitiota's appeal.

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