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New Zealand Court Rejects ‘Climate Change’ Refugee

Lucy Craymer, The Wall Street Journal

A Pacific Island man seeking residency in New Zealand as a climate-change refugee is to be deported after the country’s High Court rejected his claim.

The 37-year-old man, Ioane Teitiota, from the tiny Pacific nation of Kiribati had claimed refugee status in New Zealand on grounds that global warming has made it too dangerous to return to his homeland.

However, the High Court agreed with an earlier decision from New Zealand’s immigration tribunal that the man be must returned to Kiribati as his plight did not qualify him as a refugee. The judgment was published Tuesday after a court hearing in Auckland on Oct. 16.

In his ruling, Justice John Priestley described Mr. Teitiota’s claim as “novel,” but added it was insufficient to allow him to change well-established law and provide him with an opportunity to remain in New Zealand.

Mr. Teitiota will be deported to Kiribati unless he appeals the decision in a higher court in New Zealand.

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