24 Sep 2015

Not time to leave Kiribati yet says former president

10:31 am on 24 September 2015

A former president of Kiribati Sir Ieremia Tabai says it is not time to leave Kiribati yet because of climate change.

Tebikenikora, a village in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. September 5 2011

Locals in Tebikenikora, a village in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the area in 2011 to discuss villagers’ concerns about the effects of climate change on their low-lying land. Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The government MP says he is working hard on issues like overpopulation to help Kiribati people stay where they are.

Sir Ieremia's comments come as New Zealand deported a Kiribati man who failed to get climate change refugee status.

He says he can understand why the family wanted to stay in New Zealand because Kiribati faces many problems.

"Sure, it's hard living, it's a hard place to survive but it's still a place to belong to and we have to make it work."

Sir Ieremia says the government wants to fight it out to ensure Kiribati people don't have to leave the country.

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