24 Sep 2015

Deported man subject of assault claim

2:28 pm on 24 September 2015

An Auckland market gardener who sacked recently-deported Kiribati man Ioane Teitiota nine months ago says he felt betrayed by him.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Tebikenikora to discuss local people’s concerns about the effects of climate change on their low-lying land. 05 September 2011

Children in the village of Tebikenikora, on Kiribati’s main Tarawa atoll. Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Mr Teitiota was yesterday put on a plane for Kiribati after trying for four years to stay in New Zealand as a climate-change refugee.

His wife and three New-Zealand-born children will leave next week.

Frank Argent, who owns Barefoot Gardens, said Mr Teitiota worked for him for four years but he fired him last December after a worker claimed he assaulted her.

He said other staff had also complained about his behaviour.

"Initially he was a good worker but as time went by he became a bit of a bully boy, basically."

Mr Argent said he felt let down, having befriended Mr Teitiota and supported his claim as a climate-change refugee.

Reverend Iosefa Suamalie, who has been advocating for Mr Teitiota and his family, said he was shocked by the revelations and knew nothing about them.

However, he would have supported him regardless as it was not his place to judge.

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