Key denies climate change is happening
It looks like Ioane Teitiota and his family will be deported to Kiribati on Wednesday, 23 September.
Teitiota had tried to be recognised as a climate change refugee because rising sea levels have ruined fresh water supplies and fertile land in Kiribati. His claim was rejected, and in July the Supreme Court denied his appeal. He has since been arrested and is held in remand in Mt Eden. A plea to have him released on bail failed on Monday.
His lawyer Michael Kidd launched a last minute appeal to Associate Immigration Minister Craig Foss to stop the deportation, but Foss rejected it.
Then today, 22 September, John Key said that he didn’t believe that climate change existed at all. He said that the family were “probably really good New Zealanders” but “I don't think that claiming he's a refugee based on climate change, that that's a credible argument.”
According to Key, climate change is something that might happen in the distant future: “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.”
We can only hope that it won’t take future NZ governments half a century to ‘understand’ that climate change is happening.