Turnbull 'open' to NZ refugee offer

Casey Dawson
November 7, 2017

Turnbull said he would not, at this time, take up the offer from his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern.

"We of course do not have the circumstances that Australia is operating under, but we also can not ignore the human face of what Australia is dealing with as well".

The leaders held bilateral talks in Sydney today and Ms Ardern reiterated New Zealand's offer made in 2013, which has been rejected by subsequently by successive Australian governments under Labor and the Liberal Party.

About 600 men are refusing to leave a de-commissioned Australian centre on Manus Island saying they fear attacks from locals, reports the BBC.

She said the Government was working to remove the investor-state dispute settlement provisions from the deal that allow corporations to take legal action against a foreign government for introducing legislation that harms their investment or profits.

The other 10 countries would remain a matter for negotiations, but she said New Zealand was not the only one concerned.

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Some 600 asylum seekers and refugees have barricaded themselves in the Manus Island complex, which officially closed last Tuesday.

"Our position has always been that if you're adding to supply, for on-sale of that new dwelling, then you will be able to build", Ardern said.

It has been rejected a couple of times on the grounds it would give asylum seekers a backdoor into Australia and become a marketing opportunity for people smugglers.

The stand-off at the Manus Island detention centre prompted Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to issue a statement on Friday, calling on Mr Turnbull to accept the offer, describing it as not dissimilar to the United States deal. The United Nations has called on Australia to urgently restore support to those on Manus Island, at the very least.

"Whilst it has not been taken up immediately, the Prime Minister thanked New Zealand for the offer, acknowledged it and it is something that still remains in place".

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