Manus Island activists locked to gates of Australian high commission in Wellington

15 November, 2017, 00:55 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Asylum seekers sit on the ground as they refuse to leave the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea

Ardern again reiterated New Zealand's desire to resettle 150 of the men now held in Australia's offshore detention centres despite Malcolm Turnbull turning down her offer a week prior.

Police at the protest at the Australian High Commission.

She said New Zealand has the capacity to help the refugees and should be talking with the PNG government directly to solve "this humanitarian crisis".

"We made the offer because we saw a great need". For the last five years, Australia has maintained a policy of detaining refugees intercepted at sea there and at a similar camp on Nauru, rather than allowing them to reach Australian soil.

"The safety of both the refugees and government workers plus staff of leading agencies is not to be taken for granted given the tension that is now being expressed by the locals on Manus Island", he said.

One of Malcolm Turnbull's Ministers Matt Canavan has described it as a publicity stunt by Jacinda Ardern.

Government frontbencher Matt Canavan criticised the genuineness of the offer. "No matter what label you put on it there is absolute need and there is harm being done".

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More than 600 refugees and asylum seekers have barricaded themselves inside the mothballed detention center on the island.

These have raised human right issues until it was ruled as illegal and ordered to be shut down by the PNG Supreme Court.

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

Mr Lomai said all the asylum seekers want is to get to a Third-World country where they can be resettled in apart from PNG. "I think it's clear that we don't see what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there". The camp officially closed on October 31, but the detainees, who were sent to the island as part of Australia's offshore detention program, have refused to relocate to temporary accommodations.

"Australia does not have the right to reject New Zealand's offer", Boochani said.

Australia pays for and maintains effective control of the PNG detention centre, according to the United Nations, apex courts in both countries and independent observers.

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm warned for Australia to take it up would be "a fatal mistake, literally a fatal mistake".

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