April 24, 2018

Turnbull 'open' to NZ refugee offer

07 November 2017, 12:44 | Simon Arnold

GETTY IMAGES Jacinda Ardern is named the thirteenth most powerful woman in global politics

Jacinda Ardern is named the thirteenth most powerful woman in global politics

The offer, first made by the country to the Gillard government in 2013, has been rejected a couple of times on the grounds that it would give asylum seekers a backdoor into Australia and become a marketing opportunity for people smugglers.

Addressing parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be a priority for her at this week's APEC meeting in Vietnam, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

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

"The agreement with the United States would lead to a substantial number of refugees being resettled", she said.

"We say its well past time that the New Zealand government takes action to rescue these people and bring them here".

"We have an arrangement with the United States where a substantial number - 1,250 - can, subject to the U.S. rigours vetting, be resettled in the United States".

Ms Ardern will leave for the meeting on Thursday and is seeking a number of bilateral meetings - particularly with the leaders of countries where there are impending trade issues.

"Equally of course, any nation where actually we want to ensure we have a depth of relationship", Ms Ardern said.

The Australian government has long held the hard-line position that operating the ceaselessly cruel offshore detention centres will serve as a deterrent to would-be asylum seekers, and that relenting to any extent would encourage further arrivals.

Do you think Turnbull should have taken the New Zealand offer?

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 USA deal.

Andrews, a former immigration minister, told Sky News he acknowledged there were concerns about such a deal, but said: "We should give consideration to what New Zealand is offering. We have put the people smugglers out of business, and we will keep them out of business".

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