web analytics

Let Ioane Stay

Written By: - Date published: 12:18 pm, September 22nd, 2015 - 35 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, global warming, Politics, sustainability - Tags:

Ioane kiribati climate change refugee

It is inevitable that as the ice caps melt and sea levels rise the Pacific Islands will face the prospect of their homelands disappearing and their fertile land suffering from salination.

Ioane Teitiota is possibly the first climate change refugee who will seek refuge in New Zealand.  He is being forced to return to his home in Kiribati.  I do not know the details but it appears that he may have mucked up his immigration status but he and his wife have jobs, his children are born in New Zealand, the family have integrated into the local community as can be clearly seen by the large West Auckland meeting held last night and their home is slowly dying as fruit becomes hard to get and fresh water supplies dwindle.

Carmel Sepuloni sums things up well in this Radio New Zealand interview:

Labour MP for Kelston, Carmel Sepuloni, said it was not uncommon in her electorate to have generations of overstayers from Kiribati and Tuvalu.

“Three generations of people here unlawfully, living in fear, two of those generations who’ve never known Tuvalu really…so to constantly have that cloud above them, with fear they could one day be found or made to go back is a horrible climate to be living in,” she said.

Ms Sepuloni said the government needed to step up.

“New Zealand and Australia really need to take responsibility for that…these two countries especially are facing climate change issues that are going to mean they will legitimately be the first climate change refugees, and they’re our neighbours,” she said.

Ms Sepuloni said a serious conversation about climate change refugees needed to take place throughout the Pacific.

Applications through the Courts to have Mr Teitiota declared a climate change refugee by his lawyer Michael Kidd were declined and he has been ordered to leave.  A last minute plea to associate Minister Craig Foss is Mr Teitiota’s last chance.  Given the Government’s total indifference to Pacific Island concerns at the threat climate change poses I am not surprised.

There is an Action Station petition I would urge you to sign.  Even late signatures will help.

Update:  John Key has pretty well ruled out a reprieve by calling Mr Teitiota an overstayer.  And his comments about the threats posed by climate change are insulting in their simplicity.  He is quoted as saying this:

… “I don’t think that claiming he’s a refugee based on climate change, that that’s a credible argument.”

That may become a valid argument in the future, Key said.

“We can’t rule out what’s going to happen 30, 40, 50 years from now. But some of the scientists are certainly predicting quite a rise in sea levels, and if that’s the case then it will challenge those low lying states and we understand that.”

Can’t rule out? Some scientists? If that’s the case?

35 comments on “Let Ioane Stay ”

  1. Grindlebottom 1

    The problem is he doesn’t meet the criteria defining what a refugee is and his lawyer should know that. Hopefully the associate minister will grant him residence as a special case because of his wife and nz born kids and the other factors like having integrated into society here.

  2. Clemgeopin 2

    “He is being forced to return to his home in Kiribati. It appears that he may have mucked up his immigration status but he and his wife have jobs, his children are born in New Zealand, the family have integrated into the local community as can be clearly seen by the large West Auckland meeting held last night and their home is slowly dying as fruit becomes hard to get and fresh water supplies dwindle”

    I have just signed the petition.

    It is unfair and UNJUST to kick them out after so many years. This is not natural justice. The time to have dealt with this was many, many years ago, not now. Simply shows the inefficiency of the government.

    Let them be here now.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “Some scientists?”

    You can always find a another scientist that’ll say what you want.

  4. maui 4

    The president of Kiribati has bought a large swathe of land in Fiji that he says could house and support the entire population of Kiribati if required. I guess governments take that kind of action because climate change isn’t happening and they’re not feeling the effects, right?

    We’ve welcomed pacific immigrants and profited from their contributions. Pretty callous taking the opposite approach in this case especially since his family are contributing to our society also.

    • Anno1701 4.1

      Tuvalu & Kiribati are both looking at purchasing land here in NZ for the same purpose

      • maui 4.1.1

        Oh ok, I didn’t know that. NZ and Australia should really be gifting land to them. But then again we only give the shitty land back that we haven’t found a use for yet in treaty settlements so that’s probably wishful thinking.

  5. David Scott 5

    Priorities. Let’s flood NZ with immigrants and refugees who don’t understand Pacific Island culture (and cry “Racist” every time they don’t get their own way) and turn away people who are already here, integrated, and working.

  6. Ovid 6

    The 1951 Refugee Convention outlines that refugees are people who:

    owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.

    That very clearly does not include victims of natural disaster or climate change. Now maybe the world should revisit that, but here and now he doesn’t meet the legal definition of a refugee.

  7. Steve Wrathall 7

    Except there is no evidence that Pacific Islands are disappearing. Global sea level rise continues to refuse to accelerate beyond the ~3 mm/ year that would see 30 cm of rise per century. And yet we are constantly bombarded with predictions of metres of rise per century.

    • Anno1701 7.1

      The effects are about more that sea-level rise Steve

      Got to Kiribati or Tuvalu and then tell me there not being killed slowly…

      • Steve Wrathall 7.1.1

        They’re not being killed slowly. They’re not being killed at all. They have one of the fastest population growth rates outside the Dar Al Islam

        • weka

          Wiki says that storms and erosion are part of the problem. Do you think that is not happening either?

          • Anno1701

            dont forget the droughts and other effects on agriculture that mean 60% of kids under 5 in Tuvalu are anemic because they cant get enough nutrition in their diet

          • Steve Wrathall

            Storms and surges are part of the ongoing process that is coral atolls. Your point being?
            And poor nutrition has many causes. In the Pacific it often related to choosing to eat imported fatty foods rather than catching your own dinner as your ancestors did. Nothing to do with the 3 mm/ years of global sea level rise

            • weka

              You might have heard that storms are getting worse with climate change.

              You can’t choose to eat your way out of a drought. Blaming people for poor choices is a pretty shit argument against climate change, but I guess deniers are running out of reasons now.

    • Grindlebum 7.2

      Interesting article. Heard on Newstalk ZB about an hour ago that research has shown the islands’ land area is expanding due to constant new sand formation.

      Checking it out, the research certainly says this for both Kiribati and Tuvalu, but the researchers also say … people living on the islands still face serious challenges from climate change, particularly if the pace of sea level rises were to overtake that of sediment build-up.

      The highest point on Tuvalu is 4 metres above sea level but and the highest point on Kiribati is 2 metres. What I sometimes wonder is how anyone on these islands could survive a large Pacific tsunami, something as big as the 2004 Boxing Day Indonesian one or the 11 March 2011 Japan one.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.3

      Who are being bombarded? By what?

      Oh, sure, dishonest trash like Steve “my middle name is low-life” Wrathall will continue to try and tell lies, and Climatology says different.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.4

      How about we use an article that’s actually up to date:

      If you’re still thinking about buying that beach house, think again. A new study suggests that sea levels aren’t just rising; they’re gaining ground faster than ever. That’s contrary to earlier work that suggested rising seas had slowed in recent years.

      My bold.

  8. les 8

    pity Marion Thompson wasn’t still head of immigration,she had no trouble getting rellies from Kiribati in….and no trouble forging references to get the job.

  9. Sirenia 9

    Humans have the capacity for compassion. Pity our leaders act less than human in forgetting their own origins and denying others what they had. We are all citizens of the world and should be helping each other out, especially when there are children involved.

  10. b waghorn 10

    The government would be very weary of setting a legal precedence around climate change being used in a case like this wouldn’t they. ?

  11. Gabby 11

    Surely we can give it a hundred years and then reassess Mr Teitiota’s case if sea levels continue to rise. That will give him an additional century to move his belongings here in an orderly way.

  12. BM 12

    Next flight out.

  13. Clemgeopin 13

    “The wife is a teacher here in New Zealand and the children (born in New Zealand) are learning here in New Zealand.” Having not dealt with them when their visa expired years ago, it is a travesty to deport them now. Because of that, I think the government should reconsider the case and let them stay for humanitarian reasons.
    Not sure what work the man does, but I suspect he is employed too, like his wife.

    Teitoa will be deported on Wednesday afternoon as scheduled and it’s understood his family will join him on the flight, or sometime shortly after.

    Key said the man’s family situation and a plea to be allowed to stay on humanitarian grounds was a different issue to that of climate change.

    Key said : “I, as an electorate MP sometimes do advocate for people, who have come to my electorate office for exactly those reasons; they’re well ensconced in New Zealand, they’re probably really good New Zealanders”

    So this shows that Key applies different standards to different people. There is no suggestion anywhere that this family is not, in Key’s words above, “well ensconced in New Zealand” nor that, they’re not “probably really good New Zealanders”.

    A very poor decision by this government.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      The most likely difference will be that the ones that turn up in Key’s electorate office are probably rich (well ensconced) and white (really good New Zealanders).

    • les 13.2

      I think the hubby delivers pamphlets.He should apply in the proper way again if his case has merit.Queue jumping by overstaying handicaps other claimants.

      • Clemgeopin 13.2.1

        Then how can you justify this statement from Key?
        ‘Key said : “I, as an electorate MP sometimes do advocate for people, who have come to my electorate office for exactly those reasons; they’re well ensconced in New Zealand, they’re probably really good New Zealanders”

        Does it depend on how wealthy the person is?

  14. Ad 14

    Terrible idea.

    Far better to work with Kiribati and other soon-extinct states to buy land on Fiji and Queensland, as they are already doing. The whole population needs to be shifted, rather than looking at it as individual cases.

    Put NZAid to help fund whole Island shifts.

  15. sirpat 15

    let him stay…….not for his sake but for the kids………they are the innocent ones here and were born here…..however it should be said that he did know of his illegal status and appears not to have done bugger all to fix it……I understand why some kiwi’s cry foul….. when caught they become a “special” case. with the influx of refugees and various imports I feel that some kiwis worry about how that changes the country dynamic in all sorts of ways……..however when island folks have work permits to work in agriculture here because no unemployed kiwi will step up makes one wonder wether we should bring in more and ship the shirkers out!!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      Ah yes, the complete lie about people who don’t want to work was debunked entirely by the unemployment rate in 2007.

      You ignored it (did you hide behind your security blankie?) in favour of your hateful opinions. That’s why I call you trash.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago