27 Nov 2013

Kiribiti man's bid to become a climate change refugee suffers blow

11:39 am on 27 November 2013

A Kiribati man who says he should be given refugee status because of the effects of global warming on his island, has been denied the chance to challenge a decision refusing him asylum in New Zealand.

Ioane Teitiota, who is facing deportation after overstaying his visa, sought leave to appeal against an Immigration and Protection Tribunal decision, at the High Court in Auckland.

Ioane Teitiota arrived in New Zealand in 2007 and has three children born in the country.

His lawyer spelled out how high tides breached sea walls on his island and rising ocean levels are contaminating drinking water, killing crops and flooding homes.

Justice Priestley ruled Mr Teitiota's claim fell short of the legal criteria for refugee status and upheld the original Immigration Tribunal decision.

In his judgement Justice Priestley says the man would not suffer a sustained and systemic violation of his basic human rights if he returned to Kiribati.