Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Ardern keeps pressure on Turnbull over Manus Island

Ardern keeps pressure on Turnbull over Manus Island

Ms Ardern's tough stance on Australia's treatment of the 400 refugees on Manus Island has made global headlines.

A convoy of empty buses and trucks has arrived at the former detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Island Manus Island, which about 420 refugees continue to occupy.

"It comes very close to openly criticising Australia, and maybe they deserve it, but there's an unwritten rule really that you don't criticism each other".

At the East Asia Summit in the Philippines, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, said yesterday she would be repeating New Zealand's offer to Australia.

Ms Ardern has continued to push New Zealand's offer to accept 150 refugees and asylum seekers from Australia's offshore detention centres since her first face-to-face meeting with her Australian counterpart in Sydney a week ago.

"I'll be raising with Prime Minister Turnbull, as I have consistently done, that we have grave concerns over the situation on Manus Island - but also for the refugees on Nauru - and that our hope is to lend a hand as far as we are able in helping resolve this situation".

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"I see the human face of this, I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play".

The power and water have been turned off but hundreds of men remain barricaded inside.

"My focus is on the meeting with Prime Minister Turnbull. that offer has never been directly rejected, so whilst it's still on the table with Australia, that's how I'll pursue it".

Asked about reports that Papua New Guinean authorities will soon remove the men from the centre, Ms Ardern said she would once again raise her country's offer to take refugees from Manus Island with Mr Turnbull.

As Australia had undertaken preliminary screening of the refugees and held their files, that was likely to be the swiftest way to make an arrangement.

"If these people are taken in by New Zealand it will effectively be a back door into Australia".

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"That would not be our intent to do that - we treat citizens as citizens and residents as residents".

But Foreign Minister Winston Peters held informal talks with PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato in Vietnam, and it's understood more of the refugees were being moved to the USA this week. New Zealand has the opportunity to be on the right side of history and bring the men on Manus to safety here as a matter of urgency, and to send a strong message condemning the Australian asylum seeker policy, which is the harshest in the world.

But Ardern said she stood by the way she had managed the situation.

"We haven't scheduled anything, but absolutely it is my intent to talk with him before this meeting concludes".

Ardern said she had not had an "official update", but had heard suggestions of that.

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