'A dark underbelly' - sex allegations made against Kiribati 'climate change' refugee

Startling allegations of sexual assault have been made against the world's first would-be climate change refugee, who was deported back to Kiribati today.

Ioane Teitiota was deported back to Kiribati early this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

Ioane Teitiota was sent back to the tiny Pacific island this afternoon after a last minute appeal to let him and his family stay in New Zealand on humanitarian grounds was denied.

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.

Labour's Phil Twyford, his local MP, says Mr Teitiota had an "exemplary work record".

However Frank Argent, owner of Barefoot Gardens, says he "has a dark underbelly that most people have never seen".

He hired Mr Teitioata over four years ago, and was "bitterly disappointed" after an appeal to let him stay in the country in 2013 was denied.

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." 

Associate Immigration Minister Craig Foss wouldn't be drawn about what he knew about the incidents, and Mr Twyford says they were unsubstantiated and made against a man who could not defend himself.

Mr Teitiota's wife Angua and their three children were at Auckland Airport to see him off and meet immigration officials, before themselves heading to Kiribati next week.