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23 Feb 2018 7:51
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    Pressure mounting over Aust refugee offer

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will put more pressure on Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull to accept a refugee assistance offer when she raises it again at APEC.

    New Zealand is continuing to put pressure on Australia to take up an offer to accept 150 refugees from offshore detention centres.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions around the offer, which was first made in 2013, had continued since her meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Sunday.

    With a growing humanitarian crisis on Manus Island, where 600 refugees have barricaded themselves inside a closed-down detention centre, there's increasing pressure on Australia to accept the offer.

    Refugees and asylum seekers in the detention centre say New Zealand is their best chance, especially as fences come down and fears refugees will be attacked grow.

    "Since I've left Australia we have continued to encourage Australia [to accept]," Ms Ardern said on Friday morning (NZ time) at the APEC Summit in Vietnam.

    "That contact has continued since I left and I intend to talk to Prime Minister Turnbull about it as soon as I am able."

    Both leaders are attending the APEC Summit in Da Nang, where they're expected to host a Remembrance Day breakfast together on Saturday morning, but will meet first at a Trans-Pacific Partnership meeting on Friday afternoon.

    Ms Ardern will be seated next to Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill during Saturday's APEC Leaders' Retreat but will not be raising her offer directly with him because Australia has not rejected the offer.

    Australia is favouring a deal with the US, agreed by former President Barack Obama, to take 1250 refugees and asylum seekers.

    President Donald Trump has called it a "dumb deal" but his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the US administration remains committed.


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