Protests in NZ as Ardern talks Manus

Frederick Owens
November 15, 2017

The group, Peace Action Wellington, says it plans to stop workers from exiting to raise awareness of what they say is an abuse of human rights for the 600 refugees still at the decommissioned Manus Island.

Ms Ardern said the unfolding standoff on Manus Island between refugees and Papua New Guinea's immigration officials was not acceptable.

New Zealand's prime minister says she has been in constant contact with her trans Tasman counterpart about an offer to resettle 150 refugees.

Police at the protest at the Australian High Commission. "I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play", she said. The government argue that it deters asylum seekers from attempting a perilous sea voyage to Australia.

Ardern, who previously reiterated NZ's offer, criticised Australia's unyielding stance on Sunday.

"It seems like a PR stunt from the New Zealand prime minister to try and focus on one group of refugees which there is a process for, including settlement in the United States", he said.

But by the end of the day in Australia it was unclear what steps authorities would take next.

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"He'll know the offer was genuine, it was genuine when it was first made by another Government and another leader, and it remains genuine now".

Australia has used the Manus island center, and a camp on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, to detain asylum seekers who try to reach its shores by boat.

Mr Turnbull had a meeting with US President Donald Trump on Monday morning in Manila and the pair will share dinner together where the US offer to accept 1250 refugees - agreed by former president Barack Obama - is likely to come up.

Ms Ardern said it was faster to organise the logistics of any deal with Australia.

The objective of the protest was to prevent anyone inside from leaving, Peace Action Wellington spokeswoman Emma Cullen said.

In a statement on Sunday, PNG's immigration minister, Petrus Thomas, told refugees and asylum seekers still in the centre they must leave by Monday "so that they can have access to basic necessities such as food, water, medical care and security and that the work on decommissioning of the facility ... can be completed for the PNG defence force to take complete control of their land and property".

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