17 Feb 2016

NZ willingness to take Australian refugees welcomed

8:15 am on 17 February 2016

New Zealand's Human Rights Commission has welcomed the government's offer to give sanctuary to Australian born asylum seeker children if they are declared genuine refugees.

The Australian government indicated the children and their families were about to be sent back to detention camps on Nauru, a move that had sparked widespread community anger in that country.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy Photo: Supplied

New Zealand made an earlier offer to take Australia's refugees from the camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, in 2013, but Australia refused.

The New Zealand prime minister John Key reiterated the offer ahead of a meeting this week with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.

The Race Relations Commissioner, Dame Susan Devoy, said the New Zealand government had the power to do the right thing.

She said it would make a powerful statement to the world about the country's humanity.