Kiribati man loses bid to stay in NZ

Kiribati man loses bid to stay in NZ

Overstayer Ioane Teitiota has lost his bid to stay in New Zealand.

He's due to be sent back to Kiribati tomorrow after Associate Immigration Minister Craig Foss decided today not to intervene in the case.

Mr Teitiota had claimed refugee status on the basis of climate change, because his low-lying island country was threatened by rising sea levels, and on humanitarian grounds.

Mr Teitiota has been fighting deportation since 2011 on the grounds he's a climate change refugee, but the Government says his case isn't credible.

Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, a small Pacific nation, is increasingly densely populated as people escape rising sea levels in the outer islands.

It's where the Teitiota family come from, and where they'll be deported to now that the Government hasn't intervened.

"I'm feeling sad," says wife Erika. "I don't think that's the last decision for Ioane and for the family. I'm just concerned for my kids."

His family gathered with supporters in Auckland last night to call for a reprieve.

Mr Teitiota is an overstayer; his legal bids to be considered a climate change refugee have failed.

He's in Mt Eden Prison facing deportation tomorrow. His wife and their three New Zealand-born children will likely follow shortly after.

Reverend Iosefa Suamalie has known the family for years. He handed over a petition to Opposition parties at Parliament today pleading for government intervention.

"I think the minister [responsible] has to go and make that call, but in my eyes he's not a refugee; he's an overstayer," says John Key.

"The fact is the Government has no plan to deal with these consequences, which means more these kinds tragedies on a more frequent basis," says Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

Pacific leaders want the Government to discuss climate change refugees at a United Nations conference in Paris later this year. But today all they want is for them to consider the Teitiotas' case on a humanitarian level.

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