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NZ PM Criticises Australia Over Manus Crisis As Situation Escalates

13 November 2017, 02:19 | Darnell Patrick

NZ PM Criticises Australia Over Manus Crisis As Situation Escalates

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At least two hundred asylum seekers have vacated the Manus Detention Center voluntarily after the Supreme Court's Decision on Tuesday, this week. The main camp was closed on October 31 and water and power have been cut off. Previous confrontations, in 2014, 2015 and this year, have led to riots and the centre being invaded: refugees have been murdered, shot and attacked with machetes.

The Detention Centre remains restricted to the public and media personnel.

Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull snubbed Ardern's offer when she raised it in bilateral meetings in Sydney a week ago.

Australia sends asylum-seekers who try to reach the country by boat to two Pacific camps on PNG's Manus Island or Nauru for processing.

"The current situation at the MRPC and on Manus Island is now totally out of control and fears of a looming "bloodbath" are mounting by the day".

The relationship between New Zealand and Australia looks set to face another test, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meeting her counterpart Malcolm Turnbull to again push for a resolution to the crisis on Manus Island.

Last week Ms Ardern offered for New Zealand to accept 150 refugee and asylum seekers now detained in a number of Australia's offshore centres.

"That offer has never been directly rejected, so whilst it's still on the table with Australia that's how I'll pursue it".

Ardern, who previously reiterated NZ's offer, criticised Australia's unyielding stance on Sunday.

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"It makes no sense to me how you can argue that we should be doing the deal with the U.S., which I believe we should do, and not be doing a deal with New Zealand", he said.

"It was a very unpleasant, unnecessary, risky situation that those people put everybody in", she said.

"I see the human face of this and I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play". I think it's clear that we don't see what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there'.

Having already made the offer to Turnbull in person, Ardern said she would again raise the issue with him when they meet this week in the Philippines - on the sidelines of the Asean summit.

Meanwhile, National's foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee has said while nobody is immune to the suffering on Manus, Ardern should be cautious and show respect to the wider problem Australia faced.

But Foreign Minister Winston Peters held informal talks with PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato in Vietnam, and it's understood more of the refugees were being moved to the U.S. this week. "We don't want to go to Australia, let us go to NZ".

Australia pays for and maintains effective control of the PNG detention centre, according to the United Nations, apex courts in both countries and independent observers.

Authorities on the ground are carrying out the transferal despite the heavy downfall.



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