11 Dec 2013

Niue offers to take Australia's asylum seekers

3:31 pm on 11 December 2013

The Niue government has approached Australia and offered the country as a site where Canberra could assess its asylum seekers for refugee status.

Australia is running several camps in Nauru housing nearly 700 people and another on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea that is holding more than one thousand.

The premier of Niue, Toke Talagi, says they approached Australia to be a good neighbour and as a responsible member of the Pacific Islands Forum.

He says they have offered to take vulnerable women and children but both countries have agreed to conduct a study to determine if the island has the capability to host the would-be refugees.

"Because we are working together with them to determine whether it is feasible or not. It is not a question of we have made an offer and therefore we are ready to take refugees tomorrow. It is not. It will probably take about, possibly, one to two to three years before anything is actually actioned on the ground."

The premier of Niue, Toke Talagi