Home offered to Kiribati 'climate change refugee'

  • 27/09/2015
Dr Ramos-Horta says it's sad New Zealand is so heartless to deport "climate change refugee" Ioane Teitiota (AAP)
Dr Ramos-Horta says it's sad New Zealand is so heartless to deport "climate change refugee" Ioane Teitiota (AAP)

 East Timor's former president Jose Ramos-Horta is offering to give the Kiribati man kicked out of New Zealand a home and find him a job.

Dr Ramos-Horta, who is now a United Nations special representative, says it's sad New Zealand, a country he admires, is so heartless to deport "climate change refugee" Ioane Teitiota.

The 39-year-old was deported on Wednesday after the government refused to intervene in his long-running case.

Dr Ramos-Horta asked for a way to contact Mr Teitiota in a post on his Facebook page during the weekend.

"I am happy to welcome this first ever climate refugee in my country; he and family are welcome.

"I will pay his airfare to Timor-Leste. And he can stay over at my home for a while until we get him a job and a home."

Mr Teitiota's wife Angua Erika and their three New Zealand-born children will follow Mr Teitiota to Kiribati in the coming week.

Mr Teitiota stayed in New Zealand after his three-year work visa expired in 2010, but failed in his court battle to be granted refugee status.

He argued for years that his family's health would be at risk if they return to Kiribati, which is endangered by rising sea levels and water supplies contaminated by salt and sewage.

Prime Minister John Key has said he does not consider Mr Teitiota a climate change refugee but an overstayer.

NZN