2 Nov 2017

Ardern sees 'human face' of Manus Island refugees

5:32 pm on 2 November 2017

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will speak to her Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull about the refugees' situation on Manus Island after the official closure of the detention centre.

Prime Minister elect Jacinda Ardern announcing the allocation of ministerial portfolios today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Ms Ardern is flying to Australia at the weekend and is to meet Mr Turnbull on Sunday in Sydney.

Six hundred refugees are refusing to leave the detention centre which was officially closed by the Australian government on Tuesday, saying they fear for their safety if they move to new locations in Lorengau town.

The governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea are urging them to move on while the refugees' lawyers try to restore power, food and water services to the centre.

Ms Adern said anyone would see the "human face" in a situation like that.

"Anyone would look at a situation like that and see the human face."

She said New Zealand was in the "lucky position" of not having to struggle with this issue, unlike Australia.

The 93rd day of protest in the Manus Island detention centre, 1-11-17.

The 93rd day of protest by refugees on Manus Island detention centre. Photo: supplied

"I am looking forward though to having a conversation directly with the Prime Minister on Sunday about some of those issues and New Zealand's role and view on Manus Island in particular."

New Zealand's offer to take 150 refugees from Manus Island remained on the table, she said.

The offer was first made in 2013 and was most recently rejected by the Australian government in February.

That government rejected the offer as detainees who earn New Zealand citizenship would then have the right to go to Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after a visit to Borough Market in central London on July 10, 2017.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Photo: AFP

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs