Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Kiribati man Ioane Teitiota, who attempted to claim climate refugee status when he overstayed his work visa, has finally left New Zealand.
Accord to 3News;
The 39-year-old was deported on Wednesday after associate Immigration Minister Craig Foss refused to intervene in his long-running case.
His wife Angua Erika and their three New Zealand-born children will follow next 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.
This story might be over, for now at least, but given the millions of people currently flooding into places like Europe and the southern USA, its probably only a matter of time, until someone else with a dubious claim to refugee status gives the “climate refugee” gambit another try.