26 Nov 2013

Kiribati man loses appeal over bid for refugee status in NZ

10:19 pm on 26 November 2013

A Kiribati man has lost his appeal against a New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal decision to deny him refugee status.

Fairfax reports that Ioane Teitiota has now exhausted his legal bid to live with his wife as refugees in New Zealand with their three New Zealand-born children.

Mr Teitiota's application for refugee status was based on his claim that living in Kiribati was no longer tenable due to the combined pressures of overpopulation and rising sea levels.

However, in a written judgment issued today, Justice John Priestley rejected the bid, describing Mr Teitiota's claim to be a refugee as impermissible.

Justice Priestley said that under the United Nations convention a refugee was a person with a well-founded fear of persecution on specific grounds.

He said that people who fled due to national disaster or global warming had become refugees in a way not caused by persecution.