17 Feb 2017

NZ should offer to take Manus and Nauru refugees - Greens

1:33 pm on 17 February 2017

The Green Party in New Zealand says Prime Minister Bill English should offer to take the 1200 refugees currently being held on Nauru and Manus Island if Australia's deal with the United States falls over.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw speaking after Budget 2016.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs

Mr English is meeting with his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, in Queenstown today for their annual leaders' talks.

Mr Turnbull struck a deal with the former US President, Barack Obama, for America to resettle 1250 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru, but it is unclear whether the administration of new President Donald Trump will uphold the agreement.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said there were two clear messages Mr English should be giving Mr Turnbull today.

"First of all, New Zealand does not accept the way that Australia has been treating these refugees over the course of the last few years."

"We agree with the United Nations assessments that they are in inhumane conditions, and the second message is that if Australia's arrangment with the United States falls through, that NZ would be willing to take those refugees."

Since Australia reopened its offshore detention centres in 2013, New Zealand has offered to take 150 people from Nauru a year - an offer Australia has shown no inclination of taking up.

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