New Zealand to Introduce a “Climate Refugee” Visa

National flag of Kiribati, public domain image source Wikimedia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

New Zealand is considering adding “climate change” to its list of accepted reasons for claiming refugee status. But in my opinion this initiative is not what it seems.

New Zealand considers creating climate change refugee visas

Minister says experimental humanitarian visa category could be introduced for people displaced by rising seas

New Zealand’s new government is considering creating a visa category to help relocate Pacific peoples displaced by climate change.

The new category would make official the Green party’s pre-election policy which promised 100 visas for those affected by climate change.

As part of the new Labour-led coalition government, the Green party leader James Shaw was given the role of climate change minister.

He told Radio New Zealand on Tuesday that “an experimental humanitarian visa category” could be implemented for people from the Pacific who are displaced by rising seas resulting from climate change.

“It is a piece of work that we intend to do in partnership with the Pacific islands,” Shaw said.

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Why do I suggest this offer is a sham? The reason is New Zealand ALREADY offers citizenship to residents of alleged climate hotspot Kiribati – but hardly anyone has accepted the offer. In the words of Kiribati President Anote Tong;

… There are potentially hundreds of millions of people in low-lying areas that could be affected by sea level rises. He wonders if wealthy countries fear that cases like Mr Teitiota’s could turn climate migration from a trickle to a raging torrent.

But there hasn’t been a dramatic exodus just yet. The New Zealand immigration department sets aside 75 places a year in a lottery for migrants from Kiribati, and at the moment it can’t fill them.

President Anote Tong suggests that is because things aren’t desperate enough yet.

“It’s not a critical issue yet. I think if there are people who migrate now, I hope they would do it out of choice. But as to the question, is it so critical that people would be regarded as refugees? My answer would be no, not at this point in time.”

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This New Zealand initiative might be a response to the high profile 2015 deportation of Kiribati citizen Ioane Teitiota, who attempted to claim asylum in New Zealand as a climate refugee. The decision to deport Mr. Teitiota was strongly criticised by left wing and green politicians.

Sad day as Kiribati deportee gets marching orders

Wednesday, 23 September 2015, 8:39 am
Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

MP for Te Atatū

22 September 2015

Sad day as Kiribati deportee gets marching orders

News that Ioane Teitiota will be deported to Kiribati will be a blow to him and his family and to the local Kiribati community, Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford says.

“As the local MP, I had asked Associate Immigration Minister Craig Foss to allow the family to stay in New Zealand on humanitarian grounds.

“It now appears Mr Teitiota is due to be deported tomorrow.

“This is very sad for the family and the Kiribati community. We gave it our best shot. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough.

“While the courts rejected Mr Teitiota’s bid to be classed a refugee, this case has highlighted the need for the Government to do more to tackle the threat of rising sea levels to low lying Pacific nations like Kiribati and Tuvalu,” Phil Twyford says.


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An investigation by New Zealand journalists suggests a very different reason why Mr. Teitiota might have wanted to leave his homeland. Mr. Teitiota’s former employer accuses the failed Kiribati climate refugee of being a lazy, violent sexual predator.

‘A dark underbelly’ – sex allegations made against Kiribati ‘climate change’ refugee

However revelations have been made against Mr Teitiota by a former employer saying he sexually assaulted a female co-worker and violently assaulted other colleagues before being fired from a west Auckland market garden.

Mr Argent says he made a “throw away” line about being an environmental refugee and “they ran with it”.
He says in October last year a female worker complained about Mr Teitioata, and a month later another female worker alleged he bailed her up in a shed, came onto her and sexually assaulted her.

He was fired and police were informed, but the case did not proceed due to lack of evidence.

Mr Teitiota was warned about his actions.

Other workers then came forward with more claims of violence against Mr Teitiota.

“They filed affadavits stating one of them was threatened to have his throat cut,” Mr Argent says.

“The other had been hit by a spade and another said he had been falsifying his time sheets.”

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As far as I know Mr. Teitioata has not been convicted of any of these alleged crimes. But if these accusations are a true reflection of Mr. Teitioata’s character, there is no mystery why he didn’t want to return to his Kiribati homeland, a place where the relatives of victims tend to take a very traditional view of how to respond to unprovoked assaults against their loved ones. My guess is Mr Teitioata’s departure and reluctant return to Kiribati had nothing to do with anthropogenic climate change.

via Watts Up With That?

November 2, 2017 at 01:06AM

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