THE deportation of Ioane Teitiota by the John Key government signals a strong message to the low-lying islands in the Pacific that they are not disappearing because their people are still “alive.”
The New Zealand government’s response isn’t surprising given its admission a few weeks before the general election it won last year, it would not accept climate change refugees from the Pacific.
Prime Minister Key has missed a very important opportunity as the eyes of the world have been on New Zealand since 2013 when the courts rejected the climate change refugee case.
They are eager to learn – from a country calling itself a Pacific nation – how it is going to respond to the issue of a climate change.
The courts could not do it because they don’t have the power to grant Ioane Teitiota status as a climate change refugee.
Arresting Teitiota and deporting him to his country of birth are legal because he has breached the law.
Sending back his three New Zealand-born children to Kiribati with him and wife is also legal because they have no New Zealand citizenship.
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