20 Oct 2011

Kiribati opposition says climate warning overplayed by Tong

1:21 pm on 20 October 2011

An opposition politician in Kiribati says President Anote Tong has overplayed the threat from climate change on the international stage.

A former president, Teburoro Tito, says people are more concerned about the rising cost of living and government corruption, than the impact of climate change.

The comment comes as Kiribati votes in the first of two rounds of the general election tomorrow.

Mr Tito says the government has painted a gloomy future for Kiribati, highlighted by the visit of the UN secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

"They've gone too far, and of course it makes them look good out there, they are doing well. Of course, we had the Secretary General coming. We heard that it was in response to the campaign from Kiribati. Our president has been doing well in terms of getting the attention. And I think they're overplaying it, and there's a danger in bluffing the world."

Teburoro Tito says President Tong has painted a picture that people are ready to leave Kiribati, when that is not the case.