The government has told refugees on Nauru who are asking to be resettled in New Zealand that Australia never accepted its offer to take them.
Twenty-eight refugees from Nauru have written to Prime Minister John Key seeking resettlement.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse received a copy of the letter on 6 January.
But a spokesperson for the Minister said the government offered in 2013 to resettle 150 refugees a year who had been subject to Australia's offshore processing policy.
The spokesperson said Australia had never taken up the offer, and the places had now been allocated to refugees from the Syrian crisis.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer said the deal was never a good one.
In late 2013, the then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said New Zealand should not be viewed as a consolation prize by refugees attempting to get to Australia.